CALUMET CITY | “Hey mayor, congratulations on your election,” were the words coming from 5th Ward Alderman Roger Munda as he entered the City Council chambers on Thursday.
“Yours too,” responded Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush, as she looked up from her desk, with a smile on her face.
Thursday was a celebratory mood for the municipal officials — most of whom for all practical purposes won re-election to their posts in Tuesday’s primary elections. Qualkinbush defeated Victor Green for the Democratic nomination with a final vote tally of 2,559 to 1,441.
Qualkinbush said she met Thursday with Green and the two had a conciliatory conversation. “It is time for all of us to come together so we can move the city forward,” the mayor said.
Not that reconciliation is a universal theme in Calumet City these days. Soon-to-be former 4th Ward Alderman Brian Wilson still plans to challenge Qualkinbush in the April 9 general election, even though he is fighting in court to be restored to the ballot after being removed by the local Electoral Board. All other winners from Tuesday will run unopposed in April.
Wilson did not attend Thursday’s City Council session. But Qualkinbush said she expects to see an equal amount of “energy” toward the April election as was spent on the primary.
Among the aldermen, Munda, who defeated Wilson ally DeJuan Gardner 304 to 182, said he was particularly pleased that another Wilson ally, city treasurer candidate Anthony Smith, showed up Tuesday night to congratulate Munda on his electoral victory. Smith took 1,832 votes, losing to city Treasurer Gerald Tarka’s 2,159 votes.
“It took a lot of guts and nerve for him to come to my election headquarters to congratulate me,” said Munda. “But that showed a level of class on his part. I wish him all the best.”
Second Ward Alderman Magdalena “Leni” Wosczynski, who defeated Wilson ally Patricia Twymon 454 to 360, said she believes the overwhelming victories for candidates aligned with Qualkinbush showed that voters have “faith in us as proven leaders.”
Sixth Ward Alderman Nick Manousopoulos — who took 321 votes to 163 votes for Wilson ally Tyhani Hill and 17 votes for Green ally Hope Allen — said he was amazed the vote was as high as it was. “They turned out to vote on a miserable Tuesday,” he said, citing the heavy rain and snow that fell throughout election day.
And 7th Ward Alderman Antoine Collins said he was “touched” to get as many votes as he did. His 681 votes, to 116 for Wilson ally Reginald Whitley, accounted for 85 percent of the vote in that race. “It really means a lot to me,” he said.
Among other final totals from the Cook County clerk’s office, 1st Ward Alderman Eric Schneider took 224 votes running unopposed, while 3rd Ward Alderman Thaddeus Jones beat Wilbur “Will” Tillman 268 to 234. In the 4th Ward, Wilson ally RaMonde Willams took 406 votes to 224 for Qualkinbush ally Darius Hogans and 65 for independent Imani Akin.