Naperville Township narrows GOP trustee candidates to 4
With no shortage of entrants, Naperville voters narrowed down the field for Republican candidates for township trustees from a full slate of applicants to vie for April’s final election after the Feb. 28 primary.
With 10 GOP candidates competing for four available Republican ballot slots in Naperville Township’s election for trustees, the winners were incumbents Paul Santucci and Karyn (Kerry) Malm along with Heather Bejda and Jim Ruhl.
These top four Republican contenders’ names will appear on April’s ballot, the Chicago Tribune stated. Santucci received the highest proportion of GOP trustee votes with 13.7 percent, followed by Bejda at 12.4 percent, Malm at 12 percent and Ruhl at 11.6 percent.
Santucci works as a communications manager/consultant and real estate broker. Previously he served as committeeman for the Township’s 48th Precinct and maintains active civic involvements.
Malm, a 47-year Naperville dweller, has served on many boards and assisted with civic and rescue organizations including the Red Cross.
Bejda has been a vocal proponent in local taxpayer matters, raising public awareness of property regulation details. Ruhl operates a Naperville landscaping company.
The remaining half-dozen Republican candidates for trustee – Bill Lueck, Catherine Hanzelin, Daniel Porter, Kurt Dorr, Chris Jacks and Ernest Kovacs – failed to receive sufficient numbers of votes to remain in the race, based on initial results, according to the Chicago Tribune.
This election saw a high participation rate in Naperville Township. While a primary election is not mandatory for every election, the Naperville Township Republican Organization (NTRO) voted by a substantial majority to conduct a Naperville Township Primary Election due to the large number of candidates – which started out at 18, according to the Positively Naperville website.
Holding the primary was a slight departure from the usual caucus procedure, which is typically held in December preceding a general election, according to the website. However, representatives added, NTRO has in fact held caucuses to choose GOP candidates for the six most recent election cycles.
Unlike the Republican Party, the Democratic Party hold caucuses rather than primary elections. The party’s caucus took place Dec. 6, 2016, when Democrats chose Loretta Burke, Julie Federico, Glenn Jones and John Waller among all Democratic contenders to run for township trustee seats in April’s general election.
Burke, a Chicago native, has lived in Aurora for more than 15 years and has served multiple terms as the Democratic committeeperson for the 68th Precinct. Active in the education field, she served as a delegate to the 2016 NEA’s representative assembly in Washington, D.C.
Federico, a Naperville denizen for 30 years, brings engineering skills, customer relations, project management and operational experience to her candidacy. She works closely with community organizations. Jones excels in business matters, with a background in global project management and technology, including budget management; while Waller offers materials management expertise.
"All of our voters are absolutely entitled to participate in the candidate selection process," Carl Schultz, chairman of the Naperville Township Republican organization, told the Chicago Tribune prior to the Feb. 28 election, adding that the primary will serve as a "great opportunity" to raise awareness about important issues facing the community.
Naperville Township is one of six townships within the city of Naperville.