Patlak and Wendt exchange courteous words in example of positive election transition
After a grueling election fight for the First District of the Cook County Board of Review, the Cook County Board of Elections issued a certification officially declaring Democrat Tammy Wendt as the winner over Republican incumbent Dan Patlak. The two contenders issued statements that graciously acknowledged the commitment both gave to the public’s best interests.
By Ray Hanania
Republican Dan Patlak, the Commissioner representing the Board of Review First District, and Democrat Tammy Wendt, who challenged and defeated Patlak int he November 3, 2020 General election, showed Tuesday how responsible politicians and conduct themselves in the next interests of the public.
Despite a heated political fight, which Wendt won by a vote of
The Cook County Election board issued a certification of victory to Wendt on Tuesday, nearly three weeks after the election was concluded, confirming her election win.
Afterwards, both Wendt and Patlak spoke to each other and later issued public statements on the election certification. After thanking their supporters, both offered each other genuine and sincere words of gratitude, in an example of how elected officials despite heated and often contentious election battles, should conduct themselves.
Wendt wrote in a statement released Tuesday afternoon after thanking her supporters, “And finally, thank you to Commissioner Dan Patlak who has given 10 years of service to district 1 and the taxpayers of Cook County. You ran a positive campaign and worked very hard, which I admire.”
Patlak, who expressed concerns about the Cook County voting system, thank his supporters and wished Wendt well as the newly elected commissioner from the First District, which Patlak represented for three terms.
“I wish the very best for Tammy Wendt as she assumes the duties of commissioner of the first district. I have spoken to her to offer my congratulations and offered my cooperation as she transitions into the office. She will find as I did, it is not always an easy job but it can be rewarding,” Patlak said.
As in elections across America including in the contentious battle between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, that Biden won, mail-in ballots post-marked by the November 3 election date, continued to be received by election centers changing the final totals almost daily.
The significance of the mail-in ballots came from the restrictions on the public caused by the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Many voters did not want to go to the polling place and risk catching the virus from others. The threat was augmented by elected officials like Orland Park’s Keith Pekau whose administration has ridiculed the use of face masks as a preventative measure and questioned the threat of the virus. Orland Park was one of a dozen communities located in the predominantly Suburban First District.
In the case of Patlak and Wendt, totals on Election Day showed Patlak leading by more than 6,000 votes, but that lead quickly vanished as mail-in ballots and provisional ballots were counted in Cook County giving Wendt a lead of more than 10,000 votes.
While Patlak and Wendt, a Republican and a Democrat, made the interests of the public their priority, President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden continued their war of words with Trump insisting that the election was “stolen,” and Biden moving forward without the traditional support the White House provides to presidential successors. Despite Trump’s assertions of voter fraud and legal challenges to election results in several states, Biden was receiving certification of his election margin which had him with 306 Electoral Votes, 36 more than needed to win, and Trump received only 232 Electoral Votes, or 38 shy of what he needed to win.
Despite the criticism of Cook County, Patlak and Wendt showed how professional public servants dedicated first to the interests of the public can and should act.
Here are each of their final statements released on Tuesday.
“Today marks 3 weeks since the election, and the votes are certified, which means I can now declare victory in my race for Commissioner of the Cook County Board of Review! I am so humbled and honored and can barely believe this is my reality.
“I have a big job to do and I’m looking forward to diving in and doing my very best for my constituents, just as I have promised during my campaign. I am looking forward to filling my staff with qualified professionals who I can lead into this next chapter with the Board of Review. I look forward to working with Commissioners Larry Rogers and Mike Cabonargi and hope to learn much from their many years of experience.
“I want people to know that I am the very first democratic female to be elected as a Commissioner in the 81 years that the Board of Review has existed. This is not only a win for me, but also for women everywhere!
“I am a first time candidate and ran a grassroots campaign with only the help of my friends and family. We obtained almost 14,000 signatures to get my name on the ballot, a feat nearly impossible without the help of an organization…but we did it. So to my friends and family who were there from day 1 (20 months ago), a great big thank you goes out to you for your backbreaking hard work, blood, sweat and tears. I would not be here if I didn’t have support from the people who love me ~ and there’s no better support than that. To you I am eternally grateful above all else.
“I next want to thank the nearly 400,000 voters, my loyal constituents who trusted in me and had faith in my candidacy during the primary and general election. Thank you for going out and exercising your right to be heard. I will not let you down.
“I also want to thank those who endorsed me; Local 150, Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady, Chicago FOP Lodge 7, my hometown Mayor of Palos Heights Bob Straz, Independent Voters of Illinois, and many suburban committee persons and mayors. I will never forget your support of my candidacy and willingness to take a leap of faith in endorsing a first time candidate running against a 10-year incumbent.
“Thank you to my election attorney, Ross Secler and the phenomenal attorneys and staff at Odelson & Sterk for doing a bang up job throughout both the primary and general elections…they are a highly recommended firm!
“Thank you to political consultant Frank Calabrese, who predicted this race from day 1. And finally, thank you to Commissioner Dan Patlak who has given 10 years of service to district 1 and the taxpayers of Cook County. You ran a positive campaign and worked very hard, which I admire.
“From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU ALL!
“God is still in the miracle business!”
“For ten great years I have had the distinct privilege of serving the people of Cook County as a commissioner at the Board of Review. During that time, the Board has made meaningful progress in improving services for taxpayers. I came into office with a list of ideas on how to improve efficiency, accessibility and transparency. Most of the ideas on that list and many more are now a reality.
“I have delayed making this statement while I made repeated written and oral requests for the Cook County Clerk to reconcile the nearly 75,000 discrepancy between the ballots counted post-election versus the number of ballots the Clerk’s own records say should exist. While I am not suggesting that any irregularities have occurred, their failure to do so much as respond to my requests gives me little confidence that they executed their duties with precision. This failure in transparency is regrettable because it affects the public perception of the competence of our election apparatus. Hopefully, the Clerk’s office will offer, and soon, a full accounting of their actions.
“My goal from the beginning was to serve the public by executing my duties with integrity and I leave office with hope that the people of Cook County believe I have achieved that goal. Members of my staff, both current and past deserve much credit for helping to make our ten year stay a success and I want to thank them for their hard work and dedication. There are many throughout the county who volunteered, contributed and provided their support without whom I would not have been elected and re-elected. I will always be grateful for their help.
“I wish the very best for Tammy Wendt as she assumes the duties of commissioner of the first district. I have spoken to her to offer my congratulations and offered my cooperation as she transitions into the office. She will find as I did, it is not always an easy job but it can be rewarding.
“Thank you to every property owner, taxpayer and citizen for allowing me to serve you.”