McHENRY – In McHenry's first contested mayoral election in more than 15 years, incumbent Sue Low defeated former Mayor Steve Cuda.
Low took 56 percent of the vote in her successful bid for her third re-election, according to unofficial results.
"I love my town, and I'm happy to have an opportunity to serve for another four years," Low said Tuesday night shortly after declaring victory.
Low, a former special education teacher, took over for now-state Sen. Pamela Althoff in 2003. Cuda, a Woodstock-based attorney, served as McHenry's mayor from 1993-2001.
"I did everything I set out to do; I didn't get the result I wanted," Cuda said. "There were issues that were presented to the public that I wanted to get out there. In that regard, I gave the voters a choice."
The race was one of the most closely watched in the area.
A debate March 21 drew the largest group of any debate hosted by the McHenry County chapter of the League of Women Voters, according to several volunteers at the event. Supporters from both sides filled the Northwest Herald with letters to the editor in the weeks leading up to the election.
Low campaigned behind a focus on economic development and revitalization of the city's downtown area, and said she wanted to work to raise the quality of life in McHenry.
Cuda said he'd put a focus on a business retention, and criticized the city's inability to keep Walmart in town under Low. He said he would talk with business owners along north Route 31 and west Route 120 to establish lasting relationships.
"It was stressful," Low said of the race. "Everybody does what they believe is right to win, and for myself personally I'm very proud of the campaign my committee ran."
Cuda wished Low the best and said he respected the opinion of the voters.
"The voters are never wrong," he said. "They're always right."
Fellow incumbent Jeffrey Schaefer joins Low in retaining his spot. The Ward 3 alderman defeated opponent Laura Stanton, garnering 62 percent of the vote according to unofficial results.
Schaefer was first elected in April 2005.