As mail-in votes are counted, Tammy Wendt surges to apparent victory over Dan Patlak in election upset

As mail-in votes are counted, Tammy Wendt surges to apparent victory over Dan Patlak in election upset
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As mail-in votes are counted, Tammy Wendt surges to apparent victory over Dan Patlak in election upset

As mail-in ballots continue to be counted, the Cook County contest for Board of Review inn the First District race between Dan Patlak & Tammy Wendt flipped with Wendt now soundly leading by 3,695 votes. Patlak was declared the winner Wednesday morning my major media but ballot counting shows Wendt with a significant lead as mail-in ballot counting winds down

By Ray Hanania

Tammy Wendt, who was targeted by far leftwing extremists because of her representation of a Chicago Police Officer convicted of shooting a drug-using, knife-wielding African American teenager, has pulled ahead of incumbent Dan Patlack on Thursday after a surge of mail-in ballots were received.

Wendt, a lawyer and a Democrat, appears to have defeated Patlak in the November 3 General election for the office of the Cook County Board of Review in the First District.

Initially, the early vote count had Patlak leading and his “victory” was touted by many major news media who erroneously declared Patlak the winner.

Tammy Wendt, candidate for Cook County Board of Review 1st District, Nov. 3, 2020. Courtesy of Tammy Wendt

Tammy Wendt, candidate for Cook County Board of Review 1st District, Nov. 3, 2020. Courtesy of Tammy Wendt

At the time, the early voting showed Wendt trailing Patlak. Patlak had 276,600 votes, according to news media like the Arlington Heights Daily Herald which was touting Patlak, and Wendt only had 248,841 votes.

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The Daily Herald and other news media called the election for Patlak on Wednesday with only 1,065 of 1,084 precincts reporting. But the remaining 19 precincts came in and the final count shows Wendt winning the election with a new more accurate count.

But that media mistake slowly turned as the counting continued more than 10 days after the election ended, and reflecting a hypocrisy among the news media which refused to immediately call the election in the Joe Biden and Donald Trump contest for President because of outstanding mail-in ballots.

On Friday, with all precincts reporting and mail-in ballots counted, Wendt leads Patlak by a vote of 358,845 in Cook County to 351,254. Wendt trailed Patlak in the Chicago precincts with Patlak receiving 17,704 votes to Wendt who received 13,808 votes.

In the end, with both Cook County and Chicago reporting, Patlak received 368,958 total votes compared to Wendt who received 372,653 votes. Wendt leads by a total of 3,695 total votes giving her the office and unseating Patlak.

“I am confident that tomorrow (Friday) will be the last day of counting ballots,” Wendt wrote on her Facebook Page.

“I will update you as soon as we know. Thank you so much to all of the voters, volunteers and supporters! You are appreciated more than you know.”

Wendt said the county and city continue to count mail-in ballots but the number of outstanding ballots has decreased significantly.

“Despite Patlak’s $800,000 campaign account and being outspent 20 to 1, so far I have won more votes than Patlak by running a people focused, grassroots campaign,” said Wendt in a release early Friday morning.

Wendt said her campaign focused on speaking “to thousands of voters” who told her “that they are tired of the high taxes of corruption that plagues Cook County.”

Wendt is a proud supporter of law enforcement community and was endorsed by the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7. She was also endorsed by International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150.

Tammy Wendt is an attorney with experience in real estate law and criminal defense. She is a former Cook County prosecutor and a former president of the Southwest Bar Association. She lives in Palos Heights with her son.

Dan Patlak was sworn in to a two-year term as a Commissioner of the Cook County Board of Review on December 6, 2010. Patlak’s defeat of the incumbent commissioner was the first time a Republican defeated a sitting Cook County level Democrat in fifteen years. He was re-elected in 2012 and again in 2016.

The race received some attention from Arab American and Muslim voters after Wendt easily defeated David Orr protege Abdel Nasser Rashid in his second failed attempt to win office in the Democratic Primary election in March 2020. Rashid, who also lost to Sean Morrison in 2018, was surrounded by some extremists who flipped from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party to support Patlak in the General Election. They attacked Wendt and her supporters (including this columnists viciously) with inflammatory, negative rhetoric.

Today’s elections with mail-in ballots shows that you can no longer depend on the unofficial declarations by the news media of who has won or who has lost.

The final decision will be confirmed by the Illinois Election Board which is expected to issue a certified final election count on December 4.

But the surge in mail-in ballots shows that the early reports of a Patlak victory over Wendt were misleading. Wendt gained more than 10,000 votes to surge past Patlak and, giving Wendt a formidable 3,695 vote lead as the few remaining outstanding votes are counted.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City hall reporter. His mainstream columns appear every week on the Patch, weekly in the Southwest News Newspaper group, and his Middle East opinions appear weekly in the Arab News Newspaper. For information on Hanania and to read all of his columns, listen to his live radio shows or download his mainstream and Middle East podcasts, visit his website at www.Hanania.com.)

Ray Hanania

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