Embattled Cook County Commissioner Earlene Collins trounced her competition in Tuesday night’s Democratic Primary, including Oak Park resident and Austin businessman Ade Onayemi, who came in second.
With 256 out of 299 precincts reporting as of 9:58 p.m., Collins led the field with more than 14,000 votes. Onayemi, a former Oak Park Elementary school board member, was second with 9,354 votes. Derrick Smith and Chris Harris rounded out the field with 4,575 and 2,356, respectively. The final tally for Collins was more than 16,000.
Despite a swarm of opposition from some constituents concerning her position on the County sales tax hike and a perceived lack of visibility in the 1st District, Collins pulled out a decisive victory, leading throughout the evening. But as of 9:15 p.m., she had not yet shown up at her victory party near her Madison and Austin district office, according to one of her supporters whom Wednesday Journal contacted by phone. The supporter said that the party was breaking up shortly after around 9 p.m. Attempts to reach Collins by phone were unsuccessful. In an interview by phone Tuesday night, Onayemi expressed disappointment in the outcome, but said that voters have not heard the last from him.
“I’m very disappointed but we gave it a good shot. We got our message out I believe,” he said.
In a phone interview hours after the polls closed, Harris, trailing in last place the entire evening, all but conceded the race saying, “Sharing very similar platforms with Ade, and on the campaign trail sharing many conversations…I think this is a definite mandate on the first district.”
As for preliminary polling results in Forest Park, Harris, a first-time candidate, did find those numbers pleasing, saying he heard plenty of “great feedback” encouraging him to stay involved in politics.
“I can’t say I’m completely discouraged,” he said.