Anthony Coleman challenges incumbent Mayor Leon Rockingham in North Chicago Democratic primary

Steve Sadin
4–5 minutes

Former Foss Park District Commissioner Anthony D. Coleman is challenging four-term incumbent North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham, Jr., for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2021 municipal election.

Rockingham and Coleman are both seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor in the Feb. 23 municipal primary to earn the right to run in the April general election to select the city’s chief administrative officer.

Along with choosing a mayoral nominee, voters will select their candidates for city clerk, city treasurer and alderman in the first, third and fifth wards, according to information provided by Deputy Clerk Dee Tate.

Though there is no Republican primary, Tate said independent candidates for all of the offices have until 5 p.m., Dec. 21 to file nominating petitions for those positions at City Hall. The general election is April 6. The filing deadline for the primary was Nov. 23.

North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham is seeking his fifth term Leon Rockingham

North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham is seeking his fifth term. (Leon Rockingham)

Former Foss Park District Commissioner Anthony D Coleman is running for North Chicago mayor Anthony D Coleman

Former Foss Park District Commissioner Anthony D. Coleman is running for North Chicago mayor. (Anthony D. Coleman)

Both North Chicago natives, Coleman, who is in the real estate business, and Rockingham both said they are committed to their community and its progress. Rockingham is touting his experience and accomplishments while Coleman said it is time for a fresh approach.

“It’s time for North Chicago to find a new way forward,” Coleman said. “We are looking for energy to bring economic growth to our community. We need to bring jobs here. We’ve got (Interstate) 294 and (Highway) 41 making it easy for people to get to jobs here.”

Rockingham, who is seeking his fifth term after first being elected in 2005, said he is proud of community development accomplishments such as expanding the city limits westward where economic growth has taken place. He counts improvements along 14th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive as part of his legacy.

“The police department has become more transparent,” Rockingham said. “We’re going to continue that for the next four years. We’re continually watching out for the safety of our citizens and stressing that with our new officers. We keep up with road repairs and have good streets.”

Coleman stresses safety issues and infrastructure. He said he wants residents and visitors to feel safe in North Chicago and said he will develop programs to further that. Not only does he want streets in good shape but he wants to reduce basement flooding. Another priority is making sure residents have access to purchase fresh produce without leaving town.

The Feb. 23 primary will be the third contest between Rockingham and Coleman. In the 2013 Democratic primary, Rockingham won a four-way race with 39.38% of the vote. Coleman earned 10.87%.

Four years later, Rockingham was headed for a fourth term running unopposed in the general election when both Coleman and Charles January mounted a write-in campaign against Rockingham. Rockingham won 72.37% of the votes with January taking 16.72% and Coleman 10.92%.

While City Clerk Lori L. Collins is unopposed in the primary for her re-election bid, two contestants are seeking the treasurer’s nomination. Incumbent Treasurer Kenneth Robinson is facing a challenge from Vance Wyatt.

There is a three-way contest for the Fifth Ward aldermanic seat. Current Ald. Torrance Markham said in a News-Sun interview Friday he is not running for re-election. Seeking the Democratic nomination are Kenneth Smith, Tanya Jarrett and Vickie Brown.

In other contests for the Democratic nomination for City Council seats, incumbent Ald. Michael R. Jackson, 1st, and Ald. Carl Evans, 3rd, are unopposed.