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Houston Shredded: Springfield Mayor Loses Primary

City of Springfield

Incumbent Springfield Mayor Mike Houston lost his bid for re-election in Tuesday's primary election. Houston had just 19 percent of the vote in the five-way race.

  With all 102 precincts reporting, Springfield Treasurer Jim Langfelder and Sangamon County Auditor Paul Palazzolo won the primary and will advance to the general election on April 7.

Ward 2 Ald. Gail Simpson and community activist Samuel Johnson trailed the field.

Here are the complete returns:

  • Jim Langfelder — 6,756 votes (39.91 percent)
  • Paul Palazzolo — 5,850 votes (34.56 percent)
  • Mike Houston — 3,170 votes (18.73 percent)
  • Gail Simpson — 772 votes (4.56 percent)
  • Samuel Johnson — 381 (2.25 percent)

Turnout was just over 21 percent, amounting to 16,976 of the city's 79,613 registered voters.
Houston's re-election bid was for what would have been a fourth term as mayor — he previously served two terms in the 1970s and '80s. Four years ago, he said he'd only seek one term, but changed his mind.

Houston also presided during an embarrassing episode in which police shredded internal affairs files, even though they were the subject of a public records request. Houston denied knowledge of the matter, and the State's Attorney's Appellate Prosecutor declined to press charges. But the prosecutor called the conduct "embarrassingly incompetent," and the city settled out of court with the man who'd been seeking the records.

Ward 2 Alderman

The only other contested primary was to replace Simpson as Ward 2 alderman. She gave up her seat to run for mayor. Herman Senor, a Capital Township trustee, and Teresa Hayley, president of the Springfield NAACP, won that six-way race:

  • Herman Senor — 343 votes (33.27 percent)
  • Teresa Haley — 297 votes (28.81 percent)
  • Tyrone Orlander Pace — 140 votes (13.58 percent)
  • Billy Bishop III — 130 votes (12.61 percent)
  • Jamie Adaire — 66 votes (6.40 percent)
  • George Alexander III — 55 votes (5.33 percent)

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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