Peraica wins Cook County Baord seat.
By Mickey Ciokajlo, Tribune staff reporter. Tribune staff reporters Colleen Mastony and Stanley
Ziemba contributed to this report
November 6, 2002
Despite Tuesday's strong Democratic tide, Republicans retained their five seats on the Cook County
Board, including a victory in a hotly contested race in the western suburbs.
Republican Tony Peraica, who beat 14-year incumbent Al Carr in the March primary, spent tens of
thousands of his own money to beat his well-financed and well-connected Democratic opponent, Ronald
Serpico, the Melrose Park mayor.
"I'm filled with exhilaration," said Peraica, who had 53 percent of the vote with 99 percent of
precincts reporting. "I'm humbled by the whole experience."
In two other closely watched County Board races, Republican incumbents Carl Hansen and Peter
Silvestri held off aggressive challenges from rising Democratic prospects.
Most of the change coming to the County Board next month was set in motion in March, when primary
challengers toppled five incumbents, including Carr.
While results of the primary were dramatic, most observers expect Board President John Stroger, who
won a third term Tuesday over Republican Christopher Bullock, to retain his clear majority.
In addition to Stroger, Sheriff Michael Sheahan, Assessor James Houlihan, Clerk David Orr and
Treasurer Maria Pappas easily won re-election against little-known opponents.
The race for Carr's west suburban 16th District seat drew interest because of its potential to be a
swing district. In the other four districts where challengers beat incumbents in the primary, the
challengers faced little or no opposition Tuesday.
The contest between Peraica, 45, a Riverside lawyer, and Serpico, 50, the mayor of Melrose Park,
turned ugly with each questioning the other's character and ability to lead.
Peraica beat Carr with the help of Betty Loren-Maltese's Cicero Township GOP organization. But with
Loren-Maltese convicted of federal corruption charges and awaiting sentencing that group switched
its support two weeks ago to Serpico, saying Peraica and some of his tactics turned off voters.
Peraica said many Cicero precinct captains quietly supported him. Despite losing the party
endorsement, Peraica won nearly 48 percent of the vote.
In the county's 9th District, Republican Peter Silvestri, a two-term incumbent, held off a stiff
challenge from Democrat Robert Martwick, 36, son of longtime Norridge Township Democratic
committeeman. With 97 percent of the votes in, Silvestri led with 54 percent.
In the northwest suburbs, Republican Carl Hansen easily cruised to an eighth term on the County
Board by taking nearly 60 percent of the vote against Brian McPartlin, a young Democratic challenger
who waged a high-profile campaign.
In other races of local interest, unofficial results showed Democrat Kevin Joyce winning the 35th
House District seat from longtime incumbent Anne Zickus (R-Palos Hills).
Joyce is the son of Jeremiah Joyce, 19th Ward Democratic powerbroker and friend of Chicago Mayor
Richard M. Daley.
A new legislative map took the district into Chicago and Zickus had an uphill fight.
"It's really hard bucking the Chicago Democratic machine," Zickus said after conceding the election
to Joyce. "You just can't fight City Hall. We're going to lose our suburban voice in state
In the north and northwest suburbs, Democrat Elaine Nekritz, a non-practicing attorney from
Northbrook, beat Republican Mary Childers, a former alderman from Des Plaines, in the 57th House
District with nearly 55 percent of the vote.
Nekritz had raised more money than Childers by roughly 10-1 since June.
The race was wide open because it did not draw an incumbent and because the district was carved from
the territories of three state legislators after the 2000 census.
State Rep. Rosemary Mulligan (R-Des Plaines) won a sixth term with more than 61 percent of the vote
against Democrat Barbara Jones, a school board member and part-time Cook County prosecutor.
State Sen. Wendell Jones (R-Palatine) beat Democrat Michael Minton, an Inverness lawyer, in the 27th
Copyright (c) 2002, Chicago Tribune