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By Bob Uphues
Suburban Cook County went big for Joe Biden in the Democratic primary for U.S. president on March 17, but closer to home party voters weren't as enthusiastic.
Throughout the suburbs, those pulling Democratic ballots voted for the former vice president at a 63 percent clip, compared to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' 32 percent of the vote.
And while voters in the village of Riverside hewed close to the suburban-wide result, it was a tighter race in both North Riverside and Brookfield.
In Riverside, Biden won 61 percent of the vote, while Sanders racked up 35 percent. Even there, however, there was at least one Sanders hotspot.
In Riverside Township Precinct 5, which includes the village's multifamily district (Kimbark, Lincoln, Groveland, Forest, East, West and Pine avenues and Park Place) and Hollywood north of the tracks, Biden and Sanders were separated by just one vote, with Biden eking out a 102-101 win.
Sanders' best showing locally was in North Riverside where, even though he came up short, the race was tighter.
In North Riverside, Biden outperformed Sanders 51.4 percent to 44.2 percent. But, it wasn't a clean sweep. Sanders won Riverside Township Precinct 6, an odd-shaped area north of 26th Street and generally east of Desplaines, by a count of 106-97.
Sanders also won a precinct in Brookfield, where the poll result was similar overall to North Riverside's. Democratic voters in Lyons Township Precinct 45, generally bounded by Southview, Rochester, Prairie and Madison avenues, put Sanders over the top by a count of 191-181.
Brookfield voter Heather Hartmann, 32, who cast her ballot at Congress Park School in the Lyons Township portion of the village, threw her support behind Sanders.
"I want a president who cares about people, somebody who's out to make a difference," Hartmann said.
But Brookfield resident Bob Mouch, another Congress Park voters who said he was a former Republican, chose Biden.
"Bernie Sanders is a little too far left for me," Mouch said. "I'd rather have Elizabeth Warren, but I'll settle for Biden right now."
In nearby Lyons Township Precinct 67, a heavily multifamily area bounded by Shields, 47th Street, Custer and Elm, Sanders lost by just three votes, 117-114.
Brookfield resident Juliasa Hernandez, 18, a Lyons Township High School student and first-time voter, also chose Sanders in the primary.
"I agree with a lot of his policies, and with everything that's happening with the coronavirus, Medicare for All seems like a really good idea now," Hernandez said.
Sanders did better in village's Lyons Township precincts than he did elsewhere in Brookfield. Biden outpaced Sanders 49.6 to 45.8 percent in Lyons Township.
In Proviso Township, Biden won by a margin of 54.2 to 41.5 percent. In the village's one Riverside Township precinct, Biden grabbed 55 percent of the vote to Sanders' 40 percent.