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Ponto takes wide lead in mayoral election, defeating Speaker

Elizabeth Ponto and her father City of Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto check his smart phone during the elder Ponto's election eve party held in the Venice Club Tuesday.

Elizabeth Ponto and her father City of Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto check his smart phone during the elder Ponto's election eve party held in the Venice Club Tuesday. Photo By Peter Zuzga

April 1, 2014

Mayor Steve Ponto will have another four years in office, having defeated former mayor Jeff Speaker by almost 2,000 votes.

“I think I honestly thought I was going to win, but I didn’t think I’d win by this much,” Ponto, who celebrated his victory at the Venice Club, said Tuesday night. “I think this shows, really, that the great majority of people in Brookfield have responded to what I’ve done in the last four years and have been really supportive, and I had a sense of that as I went door to door throughout the city.”

According to unofficial results Tuesday, Ponto won 4,512 votes and Speaker claimed 2,539.

Election results remain unofficial until they are certified by the board of canvassers, which met Wednesday after press deadline.

Ponto was victorious in all wards except the second, which is in the 1st District — home to the Sileno property that has been the center of controversy as residents fought plans to fill the quarry there with soil from the Zoo Interchange project.

“While there was some issues in the 1st District with the Sileno property, I really tried to address those in a reasonable manner, and I didn’t buy the argument that suddenly it was going to be impossible for me to win,” Ponto said.

Ponto has had the job since 2010, when he came out ahead of Speaker, who had served as mayor since 2002. His victory this year came with the public support of 12 of the 14 current aldermen, as well as former mayor Kate Bloomberg.

Ponto’s campaign fund was three times Speaker’s. His campaign raised at least $9,834 this year, while Speaker’s collected $2,750.

“It’s been a vigorous campaign, but it’s gone about as well as I could imagine,” Ponto said. “We had the resources to do what we wanted to do, and I think we were able to hit the right bases, and it was a very satisfying campaign.”

Speaker said he thought money played a powerful role in the election.

“When you can send out as many fliers and mailings as he did, I think so,” he said. “He raised more money and was able to outspend me, and I think it showed.”

When Speaker announced his run, he said residents had told him they didn’t feel like they were being heard in local government. Despite his loss, Speaker said he hopes his message resonated.

“Hopefully we were able to bring an awareness that you have to listen to the people, and I’m sure Steve heard that and will be more responsive,” he said. “I think it was interesting and a good campaign, and I wish Steve all the best.”

Speaker said his supporters, gathered at Pizza Vino, were surprised by the results.

“A lot of them were here, and it’s like four years ago,” he said. “They couldn’t believe it, but I think they did a wonderful job. They were very gracious, and they were very supportive.”

To those who didn’t vote for him, Ponto said: “I intend to work my hardest to benefit everyone. My door is open to everyone whether they voted for me or not.”

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