ROCKFORD — Winnebago County Treasurer Sue Goral edged out challenger Steve Schultz by less than 200 votes in an election that flipped as thousands of mail-in ballots arrived after election night.
Schultz, a Republican Winnebago County Board member, held a nearly 2,300 vote lead at the end of the Election Day tally on Nov. 8. However, election results are certified two weeks after Election Day to allow time for any mail-in ballots postmarked by Nov. 8 to arrive and be counted. There were more than 7,000 such ballots in the city of Rockford alone, where Goral, a Democrat, picked up 60% of the vote.
When election results were certified at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Goral won the race by 188 votes.
“My focus in the election and now post election has been my gratitude for all the support that I received and all the people who put in so much effort to support my campaign,” Schultz said when reached by phone. “That’s still where I’m at.”
Illinois election law allows for a discovery recount to be filed by any contestant who came within 5% of the votes cast for the winner. That request for a recount can be filed within five days of the results being certified.
Discovery recounts are limited in their scope, but if any discrepancies are uncovered that can be used as a basis to contest the results.
Susan Goral (D): 43,737 (50.11%)
Steve Schultz (R): 43,549 (49.89)
Voter turnout dips from last midterm
Voter turnout from both the city and the county declined from the last midterm election in 2018.
There were 36,792 Rockford voters in the Nov. 8 election out of 86,204 registered, for a turnout of a little under 43%, according to Rockford Board of Elections.
Turnout was close to 50% in Rockford in the 2018 midterms, and in the last presidential election in 2020 it stood at nearly 63%.
In Rockford, 18% of people voted early and an additional 19% voted by mail, according to Rockford Board of Elections figures. That equates to 7,084 votes by mail and 6,671 early votes.
Turnout also declined in Winnebago County.
There were 52,088 voters out of 92,905 registered in Winnebago County outside of the city of Rockford for a turnout of 56%.
That’s down from nearly 59% in the last midterm in 2018 and about 77% in the 2020 presidential election.
Muraski elected Winnebago County coroner
Winnebago County Coroner Jennifer Muraski, who was appointed to the role in mid-August after coroner Bill Hintz resigned after pleading guilty to theft and misconduct chargers, handily won election over Democratic challenger Tony Gasparini.
Jennifer Muraski (R): 49,800 (57.1%)
Tony Gasparini (D): 37,414 (42.9%)
Winnebago County Board
Republicans maintained their control over the Winnebago County Board, although Democrats did pick up one additional seat, according to certified election results.
Eight of the 20 Winnebago County Board districts had contested races, and Democrats and Republicans split those races.
The closest race was between Republican Burt Gerl, an incumbent former Democrat who changed parties, and Christopher Scrol in District 15. Scrol edged Gerl by 80 votes.
Eight of the 12 uncontested races went to Republicans, and Democrats got the other four uncontested seats.
Jim Webster (R): 3,602 (63.73%)
Lindsey Lancaster (D): 2,050 (36.27%)
Dave Tassoni (D): 2,180 (52.73%)
Teena Newburg (R): 1,954 (47.27%)
Keith McDonald (R): 2,515 (54.77%)
Richard Kennedy (D): 2,077 (45.23%)
Joe Hoffman (D): 1,939 (58.9%)
David Peyton (R): 1,353 (41.1%)
Christopher Scrol (D): 1,652 (51.24%)
Burt Gerl (R): 1,572 (48.76%)
Michael Thompson (R): 2,515 (56.57%)
Bryan Amezquita (D): 1,931 (43.43%)
Angela Fellars (D): 2,603 (53.96%)
Doug Mark (R): 2,221 (46.04%)
John F. Sweeney (R): 3,030 (55.31%)
Kathleen Dingle (D): 2,448 (44.69%)