HOMER GLEN — A day after George Yukich ousted Jim Daley Jr. in a contentious race for mayor, Yukich said he wasn't surprised by local turnout, which averaged better than numbers seen countywide.
“I believe the people of Homer Glen were tired of the way people were being treated,” said Yukich, a village trustee. “I don't think anyone was being listened to. People didn't know a lot of what was going on with the village.”
According to unofficial vote totals from the Will County Clerk's office, Yukich beat out his opponent in Tuesday's election, with a little more than 60 percent of the votes to incumbent Daley Jr.'s nearly 40 percent.
All but one of the village's precincts performed above the countywide average of 14.9 percent voter turnout, with the greatest precinct turnout coming in at 38 percent. Countywide turnout was poor, but certain sections of Will County that had contentious races — such as Homer Glen — experienced higher turnout.
“This is their village,” Yukich said. “I can't tell you how good it made me feel to see all these people turn out at the polls.”
Daley Jr. was out of the office Wednesday, according to a secretary at village hall. He did not respond to an email message sent by The Herald-News seeking comment.
Yukich's name almost didn't appear on the April 7 ballot at all. Earlier this year, Yukich and village trustee candidate Beth Rodgers were thrown off the April 7 ballot over a question concerning their candidate paperwork — which Yukich believes was a move orchestrated by Daley Jr. to fend off competition.
Yukich said he and others launched a write-in campaign in February with 23 write-in candidates, many of whom didn't have any interest in running, Yukich said. The top vote-getters were placed on Tuesday's ballot, allowing Yukich and other names to appear on the ballot for Tuesday's election.
Yukich said he and Daley Jr. “never saw eye-to-eye” on anything.
The two often disagreed over the village's approach to its planned relocation of village hall to the Woodbine Golf Course's former banquet facility. Yukich said Daley Jr. wanted to spend $2.4 million on facility renovations.
“No way it's going to cost $2.4 million for a remodel," Yukich said.
Yukich also often claimed during the campaign, and while serving as on the Village Board, that the mayor was not transparent with information and finances with the public.
Yukich said he looks forward to making changes at village hall — starting with transparency. He said he hopes to have budget information available online within the coming months.
Yukich will be sworn in as mayor May 13.