PEORIA: Young politician wins seat
Published April 18th 2007 in Peoria Journal-Star

PEORIA - Two new faces will join the City Council while the three incumbents return.

Ryan Spain, a 24-year-old public policy manager for the Heartland Partnership, and Jim Montelongo, a 39-year-old business owner, both secured the open at-large seats being vacated by retiring members Chuck Grayeb and John Morris.

In an unofficial, final tally, Spain, running for public office for the first time, placed third with 11,894 votes, or 16.3 percent. Montelongo, who ran unsuccessfully for a 4th District seat in 2001, placed fifth with 7,773 votes, or 10.6 percent.

But it was veteran at-large Councilman Gary Sandberg who was top vote-getter with 13,767 votes, or 18.8 percent.

Incumbent Eric Turner came in second with 11,912 votes, or 16.3 percent, and George Jacob came in fourth with 9,656 votes, or 13.2 percent.

Jacob was appointed to the council two years ago. This was his first run for public office.

Ten people were vying for the five at-large seats, culled from the initial 14 who ran in the primary election. The winners will serve four-year terms.

Overall voter turnout was better than the primary - which only saw 9.8 percent of the city’s registered voters come to the polls - but still low. Only 22.6 percent, or 15,149 voters of the city’s total 67,011 registered voters, cast a ballot Tuesday even with the good weather.

For more on this story, read Wednesday’s Journal Star.