Deanna Zalas | Provided

First-time candidate Nicholas Novak did well with voters throughout Riverside, Brookfield and North Riverside on his way to placing second in a five-person field for four seats on the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 Board of Education earlier this month.

But precinct-level results released last week by the Cook County Clerk Office’s confirmed the theory that a contested municipal election in North Riverside did plenty to help the relatively unknown Novak, who lives in North Riverside, against a field that included three incumbents.

Novak was the vote leader in all four of North Riverside’s precincts, accounting for 906 of his 2,182 total votes. Those four precincts alone, out of a district comprised of 23 precincts, provided 41% of Novak’s total number of votes.

Nicholas Novak

In addition, Novak was the vote leader in Riverside Township Precinct 2, which is unincorporated Riverside Lawn. But he also carried one precinct in Riverside proper – Precinct 10, roughly north of Delaplaine and east of Uvedale Road, and tied for first in Proviso Township Precinct 89, an area of Brookfield bounded roughly by Garfield, Washington, Maple and Prairie avenues.

Despite Novak’s strong showing, however, his performance in North Riverside was not enough to overcome incumbent school board President Deanna Zalas, who led the field with 2,198 votes, just 16 more than Novak.

The only precincts where Zalas finished outside of the top two were in North Riverside’s three precincts in Riverside Township in and in Riverside Lawn, where just 16 ballots were cast.

Zalas won 12 of 23 precincts comprising District 208 and tied for first in one more. The Riverside resident did particularly well in Brookfield, winning seven of the nine Proviso Township precincts and the village’s lone Riverside Township precinct.

Incumbent William Durkin won two precincts outright. One was Lyons Township Precinct 1, which is the southern tip of Riverside’s First Division. It is Riverside’s smallest precinct – only 19 ballots were cast — and is also where Durkin resides. 

He also won Riverside Township Precinct 1, which includes much of central Riverside between Delaplaine Road and the BNSF tracks between Michaux and Cowley roads; Maplewood and Woodside roads; and the entire length of East Burlington Street. Precinct 1 is where Zalas resides. She finished second in that precinct.

Durkin tied for first with follow incumbent Laura Hruska in Lyons Township Precinct 2, which includes the Cech Terrace neighborhood of Lyons, where just five ballots were cast.

Hruska failed to place in the top two in any precinct in the Proviso Township portion of Brookfield, and was fourth in Precinct 89, where she lives. Hruska’s best showing out of the tiny Riverside Lawn and Cech Terrace precincts was in Riverside Township Precinct 11, which is Brookfield’s Hollywood section, where she finished second behind Zalas.

First-time candidate Kenyon Duner didn’t win any precincts, but he was a top-four finisher in 10 of the 23 precincts comprising District 208. His best showings were a pair of second-place finishes in Proviso District 32, which is Duner’s home precinct in Brookfield.

Perhaps surprisingly, he placed second in Riverside Township Precinct 8, which runs along the eastern border of Riverside from 26th Street to Herrick Road and includes the neighborhood around Blythe Park School and the area between Shenstone and Addison roads from Harlem Avenue to Cowley Road.

New school board members will be sworn in at the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 Board of Education meeting on May 9 at 7 p.m.