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Thursday, July 18, 2019 08:31 pm

Gregory named Ward 2 alderman

Simpson says she won't mount court challenge

April 2 aldermanic elections are finally over, with Shawn Gregory, a political newcomer, becoming the Ward 2 alderman after the Springfield City Council tonight declared a tie.

After a tie was declared, City Treasurer Misty Buscher pulled one of two ping pong balls, one representing Gregory, the other his rival Gail Simpson, from a cloth bag. It was Gregory’s ball.

Simpson quickly left the room, hesitating when Gregory rushed after her, seeking to shake her hand in a city hall elevator. Simpson said she will not challenge the council’s action in court, although it is her right to do so.

“Right now, it’s over for me,” Simpson said. “It’s all good. I’m still blessed.”

It was a see-saw since Election Night, when Gregory led by one vote. Absentee ballots counted later gave Simpson a one-vote edge, and she was seated on the council in May. There was a recount, then a report from former Sangamon County Associate Judge John Mehlick, who recommended that Simpson be declared the winner by less than one vote, a result even Mehlick acknowledged sounded absurd but that was necessitated by reducing vote totals proportionally based on ballots and paperwork from election judges that weren’t correctly completely.

It’s unclear when Gregory will take the oath of office.

“Is that crazy or what?” Gregory exclaimed minutes after he was declared the winner. “It’s been very stressful.”

Gregory said he wasn’t sure what he would have done had Gray picked Simpson’s ping pong ball.

“If I had lost, we would have looked at all options, of course,” Gregory said when asked if he would have gone to court. 

The council vote to declare a tie was unanimous.

Gregory had the backing of the county Democratic Party. Simpson, a former city council member who ran for mayor in 2015 instead of seeking reelection to the Ward 2 seat, ran a shoestring campaign. Both she and Gregory easily bested Herman Senor, who lost his bid for reelection after one term on the council. 

“This will go down in history, I guarantee you,” Mayor Jim Langfelder said.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.  


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