CALUMET CITY | Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush won the Democratic mayoral primary against a relative unknown candidate Tuesday but may face a tougher challenge in the April 9 general election.
Qualkinbush took nearly 64 percent of the votes cast in the Democratic primary Tuesday, with 2,463 ballots cast for her compared to 1,399 ballots cast Victor Green — who ran his second unsuccessful bid for citywide office.
That primary victory sets up the possibility of her running against soon-to-be former 4th Ward Alderman Brian Wilson, who wants to run an independent bid for mayor in the April 9 general elections.
As of now, Wilson is not on the ballot for that election. The city’s Electoral Board removed him on assorted legal grounds, although his attorneys filed a lawsuit this week in Cook County Circuit Court seeking to have him reinstated.
Qualkinbush on Tuesday said that while it was her supporters who brought about the effort to remove Wilson from the ballot, she said she will not be surprised if he ultimately does wind up running a campaign against her.
“I fully expect that Brian will be my opponent in April,” said Qualkinbush, who spent part of Tuesday night at her campaign headquarters prior to a campaign party at Harry O’s tavern, 816 Burnham Ave. “It will be up to the voters to decide then who should be the mayor.”
Green, who gathered with his family and supporters at his campaign office, 1058 Sibley Blvd., was unavailable to comment. Green has never held elective office, but this was his second unsuccessful bid in Calumet City. In 2009, he ran for city treasurer, losing to Gerald Tarka, who on Tuesday won his second term in that office.
Wilson watched the election results along with his slate of municipal candidates at Will’s Sports Bar, 2425 E. State St., in Burnham, a tavern he owns with his wife, Kimberly.
He said Qualkinbush’s overwhelming victory did not surprise him, although he said the mayor should be embarrassed that an inexperienced opponent like Green took more than 1,400 votes.
Wilson said he thinks Green’s loss was because of his lack of experience and confusion caused by the legal challenges filed against all campaigns.
“That was her intent, to confuse people and make them tired of the electoral process,” he said.
Wilson said he expects the April 9 election to be more competitive.
“She’s going to have to face a tougher opponent running against me,” Wilson said. “I’m not a virtual unknown like (Green) was.”
While Qualkinbush says she thinks her experience and that of her slate of candidates for other government posts will lead to her re-election, Wilson said, “a lot of people in Calumet City are ready for change, and they want change. I’m going to give it to them.”