By: Brexton Isaacs
This week, Illinois Wesleyan University professor of political science Tari Renner won the mayoral race for the city of Bloomington by a landslide.
Renner was running against former city councilman John Hanson and 2010 Libertarian gubernatorial nominee Lex Green. Of the 9,715 votes cast, Renner received 5,003 votes (51 percent), Hanson received 3,466 (36 percent) and Green received 1,246 votes (13 percent).
Zone 5, which includes Illinois Wesleyan, awarded 488 votes to Renner, 104 votes to Hanson and 69 votes for Green.
Renner, a former three-term member of the McLean County Board, also ran for Bloomington mayor in 2009 against incumbent Steve Stockton. Stockton won the race by just 15 votes.
“There is the saying that there is good news and that there is bad news,” Renner said during his victory speech to a crowd of supporters at Rosie’s Pub in downtown Bloomington. “Well, tonight, we only have good news. Four years ago, we came short by fifteen votes. This time around, we won by more than fifteen hundred votes!”
Renner wasn’t the only member of the IWU community to see victory.
Scott Black, who graduated in the class of 2010, was elected to represent Ward 7, which includes Illinois Wesleyan’s campus, on the Bloomington city council. Renner and Black campaigned together and often sent out joint mailers to Bloomington residents.
“We couldn’t have done it without IWU,” Black said. “My favorite part of the whole campaign was being on campus, talking with student groups and with students right up to Election Day. They remind me of my time at IWU, which I love and miss, and why I ran in the first place.”
Many IWU students worked on Election Day to get their peers out to the polls, which were located in the Hansen Student Center. College Democrats and College Republicans came together to promote Get Out the Vote, also known as GOTV, by hanging posters, writing on white boards and calling over 300 students to remind them to head to the ballot box.
The Renner campaign was almost fully staffed by members of the IWU community. Krista Cardona, ‘03, Renner’s 2009 campaign manager, was joined by co-campaign manager senior Ted Delicath this time around. Carlo Robustelli, IWU Director of Grants and Foundation Relations, and senior Katie Rose Brosnan were also integral members of the campaign team.
“I’m so proud of everyone involved in the IWU GOTV operation,” Brosnan said. “We really showed that Illinois Wesleyan is an active part of the community, and our crew worked incredibly hard to make this happen. Campaigning is long and not always glorious, but they made it a blast.”
While Renner and Black won’t be sworn into office until May 1, they both have already begun to make good on their campaign promises.
One of Renner’s promises was that the day after the election, he would begin work to bring a hotel to downtown Bloomington to attract more conventions and other events at the Coliseum and BCPA. On Wednesday morning, Renner began to meet with city officials to decide how to best accomplish this.
“I want to make Bloomington the kind of community where institutions like IWU thrive for many, many years,” Black said.