Seven people have started campaigning for the three open Oak Park village board trustee seats while three people have thrown their hat into the ring for the village presidential race, but incumbents Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb and Trustee Dan Moroney still haven’t determined if they intend to seek reelection this April.
“I have not made any decisions,” Abu-Taleb told Wednesday Journal.
The Oak Park village board is in the process of going through the staff recommended budget for the 2021 fiscal year, which according to Abu-Taleb, is his primary focus at this time.
Moroney, whose first term as trustee ends this spring, is also not ready to announce his plans regarding the April election.
“I am discussing it with my family and determining what is the best decision for my family,” Moroney told Wednesday Journal.
Moroney said he originally planned to announce his plans following this month’s U.S. presidential election.
“I wanted to wait until the presidential election was over because it’s confusing when you’re campaigning for an election in April when there’s an election in November,” he said.
“And then now that that has passed, and it appears that we have a new president of the United States, you know, it does open the door for me to make a decision.”
Moroney said he needs to have his family’s support in determining whether he opts to seek reelection or bows out from political office.
Amid an overtly stressful year, one incident in particular stands out for Moroney and will likely factor into his decision-making. In his interview with Wednesday Journal, Moroney recalled the Aug. 25 virtual village board meeting to discuss a resolution to defund the Oak Park Police Department. Simultaneously a group of mostly teenagers, advocating for defunding, protested outside the mayor’s home.
The protest turned unruly after the resolution failed to pass, when some teens smashed potted plants, tore up tomato cages, overturned patio furniture and threw eggs at the house.
“My kids have seen what happened to Anan’s home and they don’t want to see that happen to their home,” said Moroney.
The candidate petition filing period for the April 2021 election is just around the corner. Filing begins on Dec. 14 and ends Dec. 21. If he does decide to run for reelection, Moroney believes he will have no trouble collecting the required number of signatures to qualify for the ballot and submit his petition by the deadline.
“I’ve got well over 50 people who could probably get 10 signatures apiece, so I don’t see the signature requirement being too big of an obstacle for me,” said Moroney.
For candidates running as an independent, they need to collect roughly 458 valid petition signatures.