Prussing wins tight primary

By Nate Sandstrom

Laurel Prussing became the presumptive mayor of Urbana on Tuesday night, narrowly defeating incumbent Tod Satterthwaite 51 percent to 46 percent in Tuesday’s Democratic mayoral primary. Shirley Hursey finished with three percent of the vote.

No Republican has registered to run in the general election, meaning Prussing is likely to be Urbana’s next mayor.

Prussing said she thought her focus of developing core areas of the city, such as downtown and Philo Road, were the key to winning the election.

In regard to development on the fringes of the city she said, “I think we’ll deal with what’s already in the works but my emphasis is going to be on the core of the city.”

Prussing said as mayor she will stress an open and honest government and work to create a cooperative environment on the City Council.

She also said she looks forward to working with the city staff, which she called “excellent,” and that she would not initiate replacing any candidates.

Satterthwaite said he was disappointed with the results of the election and he worried that it sent a message that negative campaigning is effective.

He thanked the volunteers on his campaign and said he was proud he ran a positive campaign.

“We made the decision early on that we were going to run a positive campaign and try to promote our accomplishments over the last 12 years and they’ve been significant,” he said.

Satterthwaite will continue to serve as mayor between now and the general election on April 5. Three current alderwomen worked for the Prussing campaign, but he said he didn’t anticipate any problems in working with them.

Satterthwaite said he is not sure what he will do after his term expires.

“I’ve got a blank canvas to work with over the next few weeks,” he said.

Jake Smallhorn, sophomore in LAS and a volunteer for Satterthwaite’s campaign, said Satterthwaite’s speech was one of “the most gracious things he had ever heard” after learning of his defeat.

“He (Satterthwaite) just said he did the best he could without resorting to the stuff she (Prussing) did,” Smallhorn said.

Smallhorn criticized Prussing as having no real campaign platform other than attacking Satterthwaite.

“It’s a sad day for Urbana because now we’re in hippie land,” he said.

Prussing supporters, though, were upbeat.

“It just shows you hard work pays off,” said Urbana alderwoman Danielle Chynoweth, who also volunteered with the Prussing campaign.

She said they had 180 volunteers on the Prussing campaign and that their work made the difference.

Chynoweth is running unopposed for the Urbana City Council in the general election and says she looks forward to working with Prussing.

“I think the tone in City Hall will change to one of openness and consensus,” she said.