Goral retains Winnebago Co. Treasurer seat

Mail-in ballots flip anticipated vote for Schultz.
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 6:20 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2022 at 8:54 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - In a surprising turn of events, it’s Susan Goral who will serve another term as the county’s top financial officer instead of Republican challenger Steve Schultz.

On election night, Schultz led Goral by more than 650 votes, but the clerk’s office had two weeks to process vote-by-mail ballots, resolve issues, and process any provisional ballots. Fast forward two weeks later, more than 2,000 additional ballots were counted to verify the election and Goral retains her seat by less than 200 votes.

“Needless to say, I’m thrilled because I love the job. I love working for taxpayers,” says Goral.

It’s business as usual at the Winnebago County Treasurer’s office Wednesday as Susan Goral prepares for another term.

“I had all my paperwork in anticipating that (Schultz) had won,” Goral said. “And I had turned in my retirement papers—so now we have to rescind that.”

Schultz was the unofficial winner, but Lori Gummow says this is why the clerk’s office has two weeks following an election to count all the ballots and certify the results.

“We want to make sure that everybody knows that their vote will be counted, and this is just one way that we are ensuring integrity. Everything is done transparently, and every vote is important and now we can see.”

This isn’t the first time the leader on election night lost the race. In 2020, John Cabello led Dave Vella for Illinois’ 68th District Representative, but Vella was the certified winner.

“That’s why we try to remind people to be very patient because the two weeks are unofficial until we finalize them,” says Gummow.

The 20-22 election marks the first time Goral faced an opponent. Since winning the seat in 2000 she ran unopposed six times. Goral, who’s been working in the county treasurer’s office since 1976, says she’s thankful to serve another four years.

“We’re always looking for new ways to help the taxpayers. We’ll continue to do that. I’m part of a team and I’m glad I’m here.”

Most of those ballots counted over the last two weeks came from parts of Winnebago County outside of Rockford and were in favor of Goral.

Goral says it’s too soon to determine if she will retire after this new four-year term or run for another term in 2026.