Rick Guzman conceded to Richard Irvin Friday in the Aurora mayoral race.
Irvin declared victory late Tuesday night when unofficial totals from the polls put him 170 votes ahead of Rick Guzman. But Guzman said in an email Wednesday morning the race was too close to call. He said an unknown number of outstanding vote-by-mail, grace-period, overseas military and provisional ballots have yet to be counted. That left the possibility that the apparent result of the April 4 election could be reversed.
Friday evening, Guzman emailed his supporters to inform them of his decision to concede and explain his reasons for doing so. In his statement, he said that both the Aurora and DuPage County Election Commissions had promised information on the number of outstanding ballots would be forthcoming within 48 hours of Election Night. In addition the DuPage Commission assured him that new ballots would be tabulated by 4:30 p.m. Friday. None of this occurred, Guzman said.
In spite of that, Guzman said he did not wish "to be a hindrance to any transition planning" and instead called Irvin late Friday afternoon to concede the election and congratulate him on his victory. Guzman thanked his supporters and called upon them to work with the Mayor-Elect as well as each other for the future of Aurora.
That possibility wasn't brought up by Irvin when the poll results were announced late Tuesday night. During this and previous campaigns, the one-time prosecutor tended to sound as if he were trying to nail down a conviction with his intense and methodical delivery. But not on Election Night, when he believed he'd realized a long-time dream to become Aurora’s 57th, and first African-American, mayor.
“I love Aurora!” Irvin told the boisterous crowd gathered to celebrate the campaign and watch results at Gaslight Manor. “And judging by the results of the election, Aurora loves me!”
Irvin told the ecstatic crowd that he won because his message resonated with the voters.
“We talked about how we wanted to bring more jobs and economic development to the city and they heard us. We talked about bringing better education to the city of Aurora and they heard us. We talked about safety and they heard us. We wanted to protect our pride and make our city safe and people heard us,” he said to thunderous cheers.
The native Auroran grew up in the projects, saw combat in Iraq, served as a community prosecutor and ran his own law firm before running for mayor against Tom Weisner in 2005. He lost in a bitter campaign, but two years later won election as alderman-at-large and held on to that position for the next ten years.
When Weisner announced his retirement last year, Irvin joined others in the race to succeed him. He gained a plurality in the primary, and after what was until near the end a cordial campaign, bested Aurora assistant chief of staff Rick Guzman to take the top job at last. But until the concession by Guzman, some doubt remained as to the final result.
In the only other contested races in Aurora, long-time alderman-at-large and interim mayor Robert O'Connor easily won re-election to the aldermanic position, gaining 69 percent of the vote against challenger Matt Harrington, while Judd Lofchie won a three-way race for the open alderman seat in the 10th Ward against Robert Paolicchi and Keith Bradley.