The Chicago Heights elections saw plenty of controversy, from accusations of electioneering and voter fraud during the early voting period to both mayoral candidates filing lawsuits against each other.
In the end, David Gonzalez came out on top, scooping up more than 3,500 votes in the first contested mayoral election in Chicago Heights since 2003. Gonzalez defated his opponent, Joseph Faso, by more than 900 votes, unofficially.
The mayor-elect's celebrated the victory at Reflections in Chicago Heights Tuesday night.
"It was a great victory," Gonzalez said. "We put a message out to residents. They listened to the message and they believe in the vision that we have. Not just myself, but all of my candidates from the Unity Party, and I'm just very proud to be representing the residents of Chicago Heights from this point forward."
Gonzalez also discussed what his No. 1 priority will be when he takes office in May.
"First on my agenda is to put a transition team together to see the condition of the city, where the city's at," Gonzalez said. "And then we're going to go ahead and start tackling the problems. The number one priority is crime and drugs in the city of Chicago Heights."
Joseph Faso has declined to comment at this time, but said he would address the election results on Wednesday.
Tempers flared late in the race as the Faso's campaign released video ads and mailers that accusing David's brother, Albert Gonzalez, of selling cocaine out of the CPA's accounting firm. The ads also ask if Gonzalez would sell drugs out of city hall, if elected. Gonzalez has pursued a slander lawsuit against Faso for the accusations. Faso has filed a countersuit.
Most of the city officials elected Tuesday ran alongside Gonzalez as members of the Unity Party of Chicago Heights, with the exception of Integrity Party member Josh Deabel who was elected to replace Faso as Fourth Ward Alderman.
According to the unofficial results, this will be the new Chicago Heights City Council:
Mayor - David A. Gonzalez
City Clerk - Lori Wilcox
City Treasurer - James "Jim" Dee
Ward One - Willie J. White
Ward Two - Sonia Perez
Ward Three - Wanda Rodgers
Ward Four - Joshua Deabel
Ward Five - Richard J. Amadio
Ward Six - Vincent J. Zaranti
Ward Seven - Sylvia Torres
Additional reporting by Patch contributor Mary Compton.