BLOOMINGTON — Tari Renner, the runner-up in the 2009 election, will be sworn in May 1 as Bloomington’s new mayor, beating challenges from John Hanson and Lex Green.
Renner garnered 5,003 votes, or about 51 percent, in Tuesday’s consolidated election.
Hanson received 3,466 votes and Green got 1,246 votes, or about 36 percent and 13 percent of the vote, respectively.
“I think it’s really clear that voters in the city of Bloomington said we want proactive leadership in our mayor,” Renner said after a victory speech in front of supporters at Rosie’s Pub in downtown Bloomington.
He said the vote shows an “unequivocal” citizen desire for the mayor to be a “policymaker” — a point Renner and Hanson debated throughout the campaign.
He said he plans to make good on his promise to hold mayoral open houses every Friday before City Council meetings, starting with his first meeting in May.
As the new mayor, Renner will begin his term with a new council facing several high-profile issues, including how to deal with $114 million in pension debt, a $60 million backlog in road repairs and several other infrastructure needs.
All three candidates came with noteworthy political backgrounds to a nonpartisan council.
Renner, 54, is a political science professor at Illinois Wesleyan University and lost the 2009 mayoral race by 15 votes to outgoing Mayor Steve Stockton, who did not seek a third term.
Renner served as a Democrat on the McLean County Board from 1998 to 2010. In the 1980s, Renner was a director of research for the International City/County Management Association.
Hanson, 54, is co-owner of Hanson’s Cleaners and was an alderman in Ward 8 from 2006 to 2011. A self-described “conservative” with a solid Republican voting record, Hanson also served on the Bloomington District 87 school board.
Green, 59, is a maintenance associate at Mitsubishi Motors North America and has been active in the local Libertarian Party since it began more than five years ago. He ran unsuccessfully as Libertarian candidate for governor in 2010.
The mayor is paid $12,000 annually.