by Eric Peterson, Daily Herald
Schaumburg voters chose experience Tuesday in electing longtime Trustee Tom Dailly the village's first new mayor since the Reagan administration.
With 46 of 48 precincts reporting, Dailly had 5,550 votes or 71.8 percent of the vote in the unofficial returns. Nafees Rahman, a manager in the Illinois secretary of state's office, had 1,097 votes or 14.2 percent of the total, while Olde Schaumburg Centre Commissioner Matthew Steward had 1,080 votes or 14 percent.
Dailly will succeed legendary Village President Al Larson, who is stepping down after 32 years.
"Obviously I'm elated over the win," Dailly said. "I think it clearly shows the people of Schaumburg like the direction we're heading and what I had to say."
"I want to congratulate Tom," Rahman said. "I want to thank him for a great campaign."
"I think he'll do well by Schaumburg," Steward said of Dailly. "I hope he keeps me involved on the Olde Schaumburg Centre Commission and elsewhere. I want to make a difference in Schaumburg."
Larson said he was especially pleased all the village's ongoing improvement plans will stay on track under Dailly.
"What it does is validate what we've been doing all these years -- my time as mayor and 12 years before that as trustee," Larson said. "The dream is still alive. Tom Dailly will do a fine, fine job."
The establishment candidates also were winning in the race for three trustee positions: incumbents George Dunham and Mark Madej as well as zoning board member Brian Bieschke, who ran as a team, were leading with percentages between 23 and 20.5 percent, while among the newcomers independent Scott Felgenhauer had 17.8 percent, former Schaumburg Township Democratic Committeeman Rocco Terranova had 9.7 percent and Gujarati Samaj Chicago President Dhitu Bhagwakar had 6.8 percent.
Larson endorsed Dailly as well as the leading trustee vote-getters -- Dunham, Madej and Bieschke.
Terranova and Bhagwakar ran allied with Rahman.
The race to succeed Larson proved a fractious one, with the lack of an incumbent promising a rare opportunity not only for Dailly after a combined 25 years on the village board but for first-time political candidates Rahman and Steward as well.
While the six candidates in the trustee race debated largely the same issues, they came to be defined by their association with one of the village president candidates, or lack thereof.
While Dailly touted his experience as the best option to maintain Schaumburg's place as the second-largest center of economic development in the state and highly ranked quality of life, Rahman and Steward spoke of flaws in the old order and emphasized their personal and professional credentials as the right qualities for the new mayor.
Steward was positioned largely to the side as Dailly and Rahman targeted each other through highly critical mailers and -- in Rahman's campaign -- TV commercials.