Dunning resident Dan ‘Pogo’ Pogorzelski takes nearly 1,900 vote lead in MWRD commissioner’s race, with nearly all votes counted; ‘we feel confident we’ve won, but we will await the official results,’ he says
by BRIAN NADIG
Far Northwest Side resident Dan “Pogo” Pogorzelski has a nearly 1,900 vote lead in the Democratic primary race to fill a commissioner’s vacancy on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, with not many votes left to count.
On election night, Pogorzelski was down about 1,500 votes, but mail-in ballots have been breaking in his favor and he now has a significant lead over the other two candidates, including the incumbent who was backed by Governor JB Pritzker.
“I may have been out-clouted,” said Pogorzelski, who lives in Dunning. “But I’ll never be outworked. … I got the endorsement of the Black Southland Business PAC. That should tell you I was everywhere (in the county).”
Pogorzelski is leading with 155,791 votes over Elizabeth Joyce with 153,896 votes and incumbent Chakena Perry with 122,910 votes.
“I am now in the lead by 1,895 votes. Given the trend and the very small amount of ballots left to count, we feel confident that we’ve won, but we will await the official results,” Pogorzelski posted on Facebook.
There are a few thousand provisional ballots, but typically a high percentage are found invalid, according to Cook County Democratic Party executive director Jacob Kaplan.
Pritzker appointed Perry to temporary fill the vacancy created by the departure of Debra Shore, who is now a regional head of the federal EPA, and endorsed Perry in the race to fill the remaining two years of Shore’s term as a MWRD commissioner.
Pogorzelski would be expected to win in the general election in November, as currently there is no Republican challenger. The Republican Party could appoint a candidate, but about 5,000 signatures on a nominating petition would be required in the next couple of weeks.
Pogorzelski said that while growing up he lived in several area neighborhoods, including Avondale, Portage Park, Dunning and Jefferson Park, and attended Scammon, Prussing, Saint Robert Bellarmine and Saint Francis Borgia elementary schools. He has served as vice president of the Northwest Chicago Historical Society and is active in the 38th Ward Democratic Organization.
He currently works in the civic engagement section of the state treasurer’s office and previously held positions with the Greater Avondale Chamber of Commerce and the office of former state representative Robert Martwick, now the 10th District state senator.
Pogorzelski, who speaks Polish, said that one of his goals as commissioner would be to improve communications. “Over one third of people in the district speak a language other than English at home, and I’d like see an expansion of languages (in the MWRD’s communications).”