Tuesday, April 5, was a beautiful day in Rockford. By the time the sun had burst through our windows in a blaze of red and orange, the chill had already left the air. The pitter-patter of little feet—squirrels on the rooftop; children on the floor below—was accompanied by the excited trills of songbirds. With few clouds in the brilliant, blue sky, the temperature was headed to a high for the year.
It was a perfect day for an election, and the city election office, watching the forecast, had predicted a moderately high turnout. With a three-way mayoral race on the ballot, there was little excuse for voters to stay home.
I had my doubts, however. Having followed the course of the campaign, I didn’t believe that Rockford voters would find any of the candidates sufficiently exciting to vary their normal routine. Turnout, I predicted, would be about the same as the previous mayoral election—possibly lower. And that would benefit the incumbent mayor, Doug Scott, whose Democratic machine could be counted on to get out the vote.
After casting my own vote for independent candidate Larry Morrissey, I came in to the office and called Stephanie Caltagerone, afternoon talk-show host for WNTA, godmother to my daughter, and an avid Morrissey supporter. “When do you want to have me on to explain why Larry lost?” I asked, only partly in jest. ...