After the death of late Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Tim Bradford set off an unusual string of political events, Democrat Cam Davis concluded the saga by winning the vacant seat by a landslide Tuesday night.
Davis garnered 79 percent of the vote with about 96 percent of 3,600 precincts reporting nearly three hours after polls closed.
Davis, after the Chicago Sun-Times projected him to win, said that his first day in office would be spent making sure “that we’re making our county far more resilient in the face of a changing climate.”
“I think this race has been important to show that people are paying attention to the MWRD more than ever, especially during this era of Trump’s roll backs on public health and the environment,” said Davis who ran against Green Party candidate Geoffrey Cubbage.
Cubbage conceded at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. It was a “hell of a race,” Cubbage said.
Earlier this year, Davis and Cubbage were deemed eligible to appear on the ballot in November after a last-minute write-in primary election spurred by Bradford’s sudden death.
Bradford died three days before the Dec. 4 primary candidate-filing deadline.
But a few days after that unusual primary election, Gov. Bruce Rauner appointed his go-to Republican, David Walsh. That decision led to a court battle, with Circuit Court Judge Patrick Stanton ruling against Rauner’s appointment, citing “clear language” of the statute.
Davis has a track record on clean water policy. He’s a former president and CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, an environmental group that advocates for clean water. Under the Obama Administration, he worked with 11 federal departments, serving as an adviser and liaison to Congress on Great Lakes matters and to two administrators for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Davis won a write-in election in December, an unusual voting procedure. He received the endorsement of Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board president and chair of the county’s Democratic Party.
Davis was the only Democrat who reached the vote threshold. A minimum of 8,075 was needed to get nominated and placed on the November ballot, and Davis went far beyond, with a total of 54,183.
Cubbage is self-employed as an analyst and project oversight report writer.
Two hours after polls closed, Cubbage had only garnered 21 percent of the vote with 96 percent of 3,600 precincts reporting.
“The issues that the Green Party candidates focused on are issues that we will continue to focus on in 2020,” Cubbage said. “We’re hopeful that we’ll see progress on the board and, come 2020, we hope we’ll see more candidates to put pressure on the board to take environmental issues seriously. We ran our best candidates, which forced others to run their best candidates. We think that strategy worked out and we hope it will continue to.”
Davis said it has been a pleasure to run against Cubbage.
In fact, he didn’t consider himself to be running against Cubbage.
“I consider myself to be running alongside him” Davis said since Cubbage cares about clean water issues.
Contributing: Alexandra Arriaga