Nogal beats back challenge in District 230 race

In contested races, School Districts 230 and 135 beat back challengers while an incumbent Orland Park Trustee dropped by his party fell short of re-election. The big winners were Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman and Orland Mayor Dan McLaughlin who backed the winning slates including in Consolidated High School District 230 and School District 135.

By Ray Hanania

Winning slate: Rick Nogal, Patrick O'Sullivan and Denis Ryan mailer promoting a positive message to votes

Winning slate: Rick Nogal, Patrick O’Sullivan and Denis Ryan mailer promoting a positive message to votes

While most suburban communities saw few real contests in Tuesday’s election, the Orland region had some tough battles.

But slates backed by Orland Mayor Dan McLaughlin and Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman won in landslide victories.

In the race for Village Trustee in Orland Park, former insider turned outsider Trustee Ed Schussler lost his re-election bid to the First Orland Party slate backed by Mayor McLaughlin and Commissioner Gorman.

Incumbent Trustees Carole Griffin Ruzich and Patricia Gira, and newcomer Michael F. Carroll easily won, despite a very low turnout of only 11 percent of the villages 45,427 votes.

With 48 of 50 precincts reporting at 9 pm, Ruzich and Gira were leading with 27 percent or more than 3,236 and 3,213 votes respectively, and Carroll had 23.5 percent or 2,760 votes.

Schussler trailed with 21.7 percent or 2,546.

Trustee Daniel T. Calandriello, also of the First Orland Party, was unchallenged and received 3,686 votes.

The final totals may change slightly as the last 2 remaining precincts of the total 50 precincts are being tabulated as of this writing. But trailing by 220 votes, Schussler will have a hard time bridging that difference in the outstanding 2 precincts.

In the contested race for the Consolidated High School District 230, the slate led by Board President Rick Nogal including Patrick O’Sullivan and newcomer Denis Ryan appeared to be winning by a landslide against a politically muscled campaign of challenger John Thomas Donovan.

Winning District 135 slate of LaMargo, Okon, Sexton yard sign

Winning District 135 slate of LaMargo, Okon, Sexton yard sign

With 112 of 119 precincts reporting, Nogal had 20.3 percent or 6,795 votes, O’Sullivan had 23.7 percent or 7,936 votes, and Denis Ryan, despite two other challengers who shared his last name, Ryan, received 18.7 percent or 6,250 votes.

Donovan, who is the son of former Chicago Machine lieutenant Tom Donovan, the former chief of staff to the late Mayor Michael A. Bilandic, received 14.6 percent or 4,882 votes.

It appeared unlikely that Donovan could make up the 1,400 voter difference behind Denis Ryan through the remaining 7 unreported precincts.

Gorman worked that race hard to ensure that Nogal, O’Sullivan and Denis Ryan defeated the challengers.

In the heated School District 135 race, Board President Joe La Margo was easily re-elected with his slate of candidates. With 41 of 43 precincts reporting, La Margo received 25.9 percent or 2,732 votes. His slate colleagues Gregory Okon received 26.4 percent or 2,782 votes and Angie Sexton received 29.1 percent or 3,071 votes.

Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman

Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman

Challenger Tina Zekich received 18.5 percent or only 1,950 votes, trailing by more than 800 votes. As in the other races, it’s unlikely Zenkich will be able to find the 800 votes she needs from the 2 outstanding precincts.

The suburban elections were overshadowed by the big money battle between Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who had to fight for his political life after being forced into a run-off on Feb. 24 against Cook County Commissioner Jesus Chuy Garcia.

Emanuel raised more than $30 million and outspent Garcia 6 to 1, although Garcia received strong funding. Both candidates filled the television airwaves with campaign ads that bashed each other endlessly.

Many observers believe that the low turnout was the result of the negative tone of the Chicago mayoral contest.

Emanuel defeated Garcia in a landslide Tuesday night with more than 55.4 percent of the vote to Garcia’s 44.5 percent of the vote. Although the suburban turnout was low the turnout in Chicago was strong with more than 500,000 voters casting ballots in the heated mayoral fight.

The Nogal, O’Sullivan and Denis Ryan slate in District 230 received the backing of every major elected official who counts including Gorman, McLaughlin, and Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki.

Nogal’s victory is a mandate to continue to push for improvements at the district’s three high schools including Andrew, Sandburg and Stagg. Nogal also received backing from La Margo who has proven to be a capable school leader for providing the best education to the elementary school district’s children.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Blogger, Columnist at Illinois News Network Online
Ray Hanania is senior blogger for the Illinois News Network news site. He is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who covered the beat from 1976 through 1992 (From Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley). And, Hanania is a stubborn and loud critic of the biased mainstream American news media.

Hanania Chicago political beats and Chicago City Hall at the Daily Southtown Newspapers (1976-1985) and the Chicago Sun-Times (1985-1992). He published the The Villager Community Newspapers covering 12 Southwest suburban regions (1993-1997). Hanania also hosted live political news radio talkshows on WLS AM (1980 - 1991), and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM, WSBC AM in Chicago, and WNZK AM in Detroit.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. He currently is syndicated through Creators Syndicate. He has written for the Jerusalem Post,, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star of Lebanon, the News of the World in London, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, The Saudi Gazette, the Arab News in Jeddah, and Aramco Magazine.

Hanania's Chicagoland columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald, the Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News and the Palos Reporter newspapers.

He is President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

His personal website is Email him at: [email protected]
Ray Hanania

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