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Voters reelect Mayor Feinen in Champaign and Mayor Williams in Danville

Left: Champaign mayor Deborah Frank Feinen, Right: Danville mayor Rickey Williams Jr. (Jim Meadows/IPM News)

URBANA – Voters in Champaign and Danville re-elected their mayors Tuesday, but by widely different margins.

Champaign Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen received 5,358 votes, or nearly 75 percent of the unofficial tally. She defeated former mayor Don Gerard (with 1,354 votes or 18.9%) and Azark David Cobbs (455 votes, or 6.35%), who was making his second bid or the office.

In her third term, Feinen says she plans to continue working on the city’s violence reduction blueprint and Garden Hills infrastructure — and other projects that were delayed by COVID-19.

“Things like economic development, and our infrastructure” said Feinen. “We’re able to start refocusing on the things that were put aside during my last term, because we were dealing with the pandemic.”

See Champaign County’s latest election tallies here. 

Danville’s mayor leads in a close contest

In Danville, Rickey Williams Junior has been re-elected to serve a second full term as mayor.

Williams defeated his challenger, Vermilion Housing Authority executive director Jackie Vinson, by just 59 votes, according to Tuesday night’s unofficial returns.,

Williams says he’s humbled and a bit surprised by the closeness of his election victory.

He believes people voted for him because they saw Danville thriving under his leadership, despite the constraints of the pandemic.

“A large part of that was thanks to the team that I’ve built, and all of the efforts that they gave to make Danville better,” said Williams, “along with all of our non-profits and our businesses and our people stepping up to the plate together. And that’s what I wanted people to see.”

Meanwhile, Vinson says her strong showing means that Danville residents want a city government that listens more to their concerns. She said Tuesday night that she does not plan to challenge the election results, despite the narrow margin. However, that margin could shift, depending on any additional mail-in ballots that come in by April 18, the state-mandated deadline for tabulating them.

Other Election Results

Champaign voters re-elected Matthew Gladney to his at-large city council seat.  With 4,460 votes, Gladney was the top vote-getter among the four candidates competing for three at-large seats. Unit 4 school board member Kathy Shannon and former council member Greg Stock also won at-large seats. Incumbent at-large council member Will Kyles lost his re-election bid, while longtime at-large member Tom Bruno did not seek re-election.

Vermilion County voters said no to a county-wide sales tax for public schools. 64 percent of Danville voters voted against the referendum, while 57 percent opposed it in the rest of the county.

An advisory referendum proposing a recreation center and outdoor swimming pool was defeated in Mahomet, 1,258 to 427. Nearly 75 percent of Mahomet voters said ‘no’ to the idea.

In Piatt County, voters said “no” to wind farms in an advisory referendum. 70.6% of voters (1,498 to 623) opposed the idea of allowing wind turbine arrays in the county. The Piatt County Board recently rejected a wind farm proposal for the northern part of the county, after extensive zoning hearings. In January, Governor Pritzker signed legislation which appears to prevent counties from entirely blocking wind farms.

The small town of Catlin in Vermilion County is getting a new mayor. Justin Bargo won 64 percent of the vote, defeating James Robinson Sr.,  282 to 156.  Mayor Butch Schmink did not seek re-election.

((CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to note Justin Bargo as the winner of the Catlin mayoral election, not James Robinson. – JM 4/5/23 11:35 AM))

Picture of Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows has been covering local news for WILL Radio since 2000, with occasional periods as local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered and a stint hosting WILL's old Focus talk show. He was previously a reporter at public radio station WCBU in Peoria.

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