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Bloomington sees a wave of newcomers running for city council. Normal incumbents face competition

 Donna Boelen
Jeffrey Smudde
Donna Boelen is the only Bloomington City Council incumbent up for election next spring to file for a four-year term.

Bloomington and Normal each had seven candidates file for city council seats in the spring municipal election.

The Town of Normal also received petitions for three elected offices that don’t exist. Municipal elections for the nonpartisan councils will be held April 4, 2023. Monday was the last day for candidates to file petitions.

In Bloomington, contested elections are set in two of the city’s nine wards — while four incumbents chose not to run. Steven Nalefski, a retired former highway employee in Woodford County, and State Farm attorney John Wyatt Danenberger have filed in Ward 4 that includes neighborhoods east of downtown. Incumbent Julie Emig, who has been on medical leave, did not file for a second term.

In Ward 6, which covers much of downtown and some neighborhoods to the east, saw two candidates file: Jordan Baker, a legislative aide to Republican state Sen. Jason Barickman, and Cody Hendricks, a history teacher at Olympia High School. De Urban, who the council appointed last year to replace Jenn Carrillo, also did not file for a full four-year term.

In Ward 1 (south Bloomington), Jenna Kearns was the only candidate to file. Grant Walch, who the city council appointed in May, chose not to run. That seat would be for two years to finish the remainder of former council member Jamie Mathy’s term.

Donna Boelen was the only incumbent with an expiring term next spring who is seeking re-election. Boelen was the only candidate to file in Ward 2 (southwest Bloomington).

And, in Ward 8 (southeast Bloomington), Kent Lee was the only candidate to file. Jeff Crabill is not running for a second term.

Council sets in wards 1, 3, 5, and 7 will be up for election in 2025, along with the office of mayor.

The new Bloomington ward map, adopted July 25, 2022.
City of Bloomington
The new Bloomington ward map, adopted July 25, 2022.

Town of Normal

Three incumbents filed for three at-large seats on the town council, but Kathleen Lorenz, Karyn Smith and Stan Nord will have competition.

Former mayoral candidate Marc Tiritilli has filed for the council, along with Andy Byars, Karl Sila and Rachael Lund.

Lorenz is seeking a third term; Smith and Nord are both seeking second terms on the council.

Three candidates also filed for non-existent seats in town government, in apparent protest of the Normal Electoral Board’s decision to reject petitions to change the town’s form of government. The board ruled in August that petitioners' efforts to put a referendum on the November ballot to set up a district-type format was legally invalid.

Amy Conklin submitted petitions for town clerk, Charles Sila filed for town collector and Robert Shoraga filed for town supervisor.

Town of Normal clerk Angie Huonker said it is the first time she received petitions for offices not on the ballot.

“We take everything at face value,” said Huonker, adding she will take the matter up with the town’s legal department to determine what do with those candidate submissions.

Corrected: November 28, 2022 at 8:00 PM CST
This story has been been correct Steven Nalefski's former employment.
Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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