Three candidates from Riverside led the field in the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 school board race. With all precincts reporting incumbent Laura Hruska edged out fellow incumbent John Keen for the final spot on the school board.
First-time candidates Bill Durkin, Deanna Zalas and Tom Jacobs led the field despite there being no other contested races in Riverside. Durkin, the brother of Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, led the field with 2,856 votes. Zalas was second with 2,570 votes and Jacobs was third with 2,356 votes.
Hruska edged Keen by a margin of 105 votes. Hruska had 2,249 votes to 2,144 for Keen.
Former school board President Matt Sinde, who was also defeated two years ago, trailed the field with 1,621 votes. Hruska, Keen, and Sinde all live in Brookfield.
It was a generally low-key campaign. Durkin was the only candidate to purchase yard signs, but he had a lot of them. He also had campaign literature and went door to door dropping it off.
Durkin also purchased print and digital advertising in this newspaper, though Keen did as well. Durkin missed the only candidate forum of the campaign because he was sick, but his absence from the forum didn’t seem to hurt.
Jacobs, who campaigned as the voice of students and with a desire to boost civic engagement, especially on the issue of climate change, made the greatest effort of all the candidates ringing doorbells and talking to voters for five consecutive Saturdays.
Some left-leaning voters, especially in Riverside, voted only for Jacobs and Zalas in a bit of strategic voting designed to boost their chances.
Zalas and Jacobs also won the late support and help from a number of RBHS teachers.
Keen, a two-term incumbent who vacationed in California the week before the election, spent $500 on the campaign buying both a print and digital ad in the Landmark, but did not do much other active campaigning other than appearing at the candidate forum.
Keen angered some left-leaning voters last year when he questioned RB’s Tolerance Week; he is known for having generally conservative views.