Pekau unseats incumbent McLaughlin in Orland Park mayoral race
Keith Pekau has unseated incumbent Daniel J. McLaughlin to become the next Orland Park mayor.
With more than 43 percent of precincts reporting at time of publication, the Republican challenger overcame the incumbent with nearly 54 percent of the total ballots cast. Soon after, McLaughlin conceded the race.
“I am relieved that the campaign is over and I am thrilled that we won," Pekau told South Cook News. “After two hours of sleep and being up since 4’ o’clock, it hasn’t really sunk in completely."
Election day wasn't without its share of drama. Pekau confirmed reports that McLaughlin bought lunch for several electoral judges. Pekau said a complaint was filed but he would "let the attorneys handle it."
“Well, he lost," Pekau said. "I am not going to beat him up over that.”
Pekau kept a positive outlook, and is already looking ahead.
“I am thrilled to have won,” Pekau said. “I am really looking forward to doing great things for Orland Park with the help of all the people who’ve helped me on this campaign.”
A military veteran and business owner, Pekau said he ran for mayor because he wants to cultivate a strong connection to his community and the people living in it.
On the campaign trail, Pekau connected with votes by pledging to cut spending and save taxpayers in Orland Park more than $1.2 million earmarked for McLaughlin’s pension if he were to win re-election. Pekau said he won't take a pension and will push for his new role to be part-time so he can cut costs.
“They (voters) should be expecting me to implement the promises that I made on the campaign,” Pekau said. “I am going to work to make us fiscally responsible.”
Pekau returned to Orland Park after his service in the U.S. Air Force, which he entered in 1983. He attended Carl Sandburg High School where he was an active student athlete in the baseball, basketball and football programs.