Wescott sweeps Blanton out of office

New mayor takes over May 7

ROCK FALLS – He won it for his dad.

That's what City Clerk Bill Wescott, who was elected mayor of Rock Falls Tuesday night, said of his victory.

Wescott, 60, defeated two-term incumbent David Blanton, 65, with 75 percent of the vote.

The two men each held an election party Tuesday night, Wescott at the Rock Falls Eagles Club, Blanton at the VFW.

"Right now, it's just emotion," Wescott said minutes after the final tally was posted online. "It's a wonderful feeling ... the dedication of the people that came together to work with us, to get out and do all the things we did. ..."

His eyes welled up with tears as he spoke about his late father, also Bill Wescott.

"It's kind of a sentimental thing, but the truth of it is, I lost my dad at a very young age," Wescott said. "I've all day been wondering what he would think of this whole thing. I think he would be very proud."

He congratulated Blanton on a good race.

"We really didn't throw barbs back and forth; we just went out and expressed ourselves to the people," Wescott said. "As he always said to me, 'The people have spoken.'"

Inside the Eagles Club, Wescott's family, including his wife, Linda, celebrated the victory.

It was a different story at the VFW, where Blanton supporters were tearing down colorful wall hangings and other decorations as the mayor sat next to Alderman Mark Vandersnick.

"I debated whether to run again or not, and I did," Blanton said. "Done my best for years, and [hope] things work out well for the city."

Blanton was asked whether he had any advice for Wescott, who takes over as mayor on May 7.

"I would say listen to his aldermen," Blanton said. "As he said about me, 'I, I,' don't be 'I, I,'" referring to a Wescott newspaper ad published Monday.

So what's next for Blanton? Retirement, he said.

He intends to spend more time with his grandchildren and perhaps take a few fishing trips with long-time friends.

Wescott said his first order of business as mayor would be to get all employees and staff at City Hall on the same page, and to "let them know that I will be there for them; we will work together on things going forward.

"That will be the first priority," Wescott said, “because regardless of what we do for the citizens, the team that we have at the city has to work together to produce."