BOLINGBROOK, Ill. -- Next Tuesday, suburban voters head to the polls.
In Bolingbrook, a small municipal contest could be early test of how President Donald Trump will impact local elections.
For 31 years, Roger Claar has served as Bolingbrook mayor. He’s on the ballot again Tuesday. But he’s facing a serious challenge from Jacqueline Traynere.
Claar hosted for Trump last fall. The big money event was held at the village-owned Bolingbrook Golf Club, or as some residents call it, “Rog Mahal.”
“You’re bringing in somebody who talks negatively about the minorities in our community, who disrespects the message on the Statue of Liberty, who just spews hate,” Traynere said.
Bolingbrook voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton and Traynere is pounding Claar for backing Trump.
Today, Claar hit back.
“She’s an opportunist. She’s running because of the Trump fundraiser,” he said. “I doubt she would have run otherwise. I’ve had many people tell me, ‘I was disappointed, but I’ve forgiven you.’”
The race has also turned personal. Traynere claims the mayor was unprofessional and rude to her when raised questions about violence against women.
“I do believe that we have a domestic violence issue that’s pretty high profile in our community,” she said. “He requested the meeting to tell me to sit down and shut up. This is the kind of mayor that we have in this community. If he doesn’t like what you have to say he tells you to sit down and shut up. He’s a bully.”
The mayor told WGN News he doesn’t recall the conversation.
“I don’t bully. I’m a bully for Bolingbrook. I stand up for Bolingbrook,” he said.
Traynere has also made Bolingbrook’s debt an issue in the campaign.
“Two years ago, we only owed $180 million. As of June of last year, we owed $316 million,” she said.
Mayor Claar admits the village is adding debt, but he says it’s being used for crucial infrastructure investments. He says Traynere may serve on the Will County Board, but she has no municipal experience.
“She’s saying nothing about what she’s going to do except for saying hate me and called me a bully. Now, is that a good platform? I guess we’ll see Tuesday.”
Mayor Claar says he does not regret the Trump fundraiser.