PI Original Ellyn Fortino Monday February 23rd, 2015, 6:59pm

Election 2015: At Look At Chicago's Aldermanic Races

Progress Illinois provides a look at several interesting Chicago aldermanic races worth watching in Tuesday's election, including those in which Progressive Reform Coalition members are running.

Chicago's Tuesday municipal election features a number of contested aldermanic races worth watching, including several that could be forced into runoffs and others that will determine how much of a voice progressives have in the city council. Progress Illinois rounds up some of the notable aldermanic contests, including those in which incumbent aldermen with the council's Progressive Reform Coalition are running:

1st Ward

In the 1st Ward, three challengers are vying to unseat incumbent Ald. Joe Moreno, who was appointed to the council in 2010 by former Mayor Richard M. Daley and elected to a full term in 2011. The 1st Ward includes portions of Logan Square, Ukrainian Village, Wicker Park and other Near Northwest Side neighborhoods.

Those challenging the 1st Ward incumbent include his former staffer Ronda Locke and attorneys Andrew Hamilton and Anne Shaw.

According to a recent Ogden & Fry poll, Moreno might be headed into a runoff, which will occur if no candidate in the race earns 50 percent of the vote plus one. The 1st Ward survey of 308 likely voters, conducted Thursday on behalf of Aldertrack, showed Moreno polling at 51.6 percent. However, the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percent.

Coming in second in the poll was Shaw, who garnered 25.6 percent of potential voters' support, followed by Locke at 16.6 percent and Hamilton at 6.2 percent.

Moreno is a member of the Paul Douglas Alliance, one of two groups of aldermen in the council who consider themselves to be progressives. Paul Douglas Alliance members tend to be more supportive of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel than aldermen on the council's original progressive caucus, the Chicago Progressive Reform Coalition.

In the 1st Ward race, Moreno has come under attack from his opponents over the closing of a police station and mental health clinic in the ward. He's also faced criticism for being "unresponsive" to constituents.

As alderman, Moreno successfully secured a crackdown on plastic carryout bags in Chicago and has led efforts around a proposed paid sick time ordinance and a pending measure that would provide the Chicago City Council with greater oversight of the Chicago Housing Authority.

Click through for more of our coverage on this race.

2nd Ward

A runoff is likely in the 2nd Ward contest, in which six city council seekers are competing for the open seat being vacated by Progressive Reform Coalition member Ald. Bob Fioretti, who is running for mayor.

Second Ward candidates include: restaurant executive Bita Buenrostro; Brian Hopkins, a former aide to Cook County Commissioner John Daley; Steve Niketopoulos, a community organizer and educational TV producer who, if elected, intends to join the Progressive Reform Coalition; Alyx Pattison, an attorney and Local School Council member at Jose de Diego Community Academy; Stacey Pfingsten, a former aide to Fioretti; and Cornell Wilson, an attorney and Marine Corps veteran.

The 2nd Ward was drastically changed as part of the 2012 ward remap. The new, oddly-shaped 2nd Ward incorporates parts of the Gold Coast, Wicker Park, Ukraine Village and other neighborhoods.

Polls from earlier this month showed Hopkins in the lead, but short of the 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff.

Read Progress Illinois' coverage of the 2nd Ward race here.

5th Ward

The 5th Ward covers the Hyde Park and South Shore neighborhoods.

In this crowded South Side race that could see a runoff, Progressive Reform Coalition member Ald. Leslie Hairston, who has represented the 5th Ward since 1999, faces five opponents. They include: attorney Tiffany Brooks; pastor and community activist Jedidiah Brown; business owner Robin Boyd Clark; Jocelyn Hare, a University of Chicago post-grad fellow; and Anne Marie Miles, a lawyer and business owner.

Hairston, who has maintained a strong fundraising edge over her opponents, was challenged by four candidates during the 2011 election and won with 62 percent of the vote. Miles, who also ran for the 5th Ward seat in 2011, came in second, capturing 21 percent of the vote.

Some of the hot issues in this year's 5th Ward race have included education, housing and economic development.

Hare recently told the Hyde Park Herald that she thinks either her or Miles will go head-to-head with Hairston in an April runoff contest.

6th Ward

Ald. Roderick Sawyer with the Progressive Reform Coalition is up against two challengers in the 6th Ward race, including streets and sanitation ward superintendent Brian Garner and Chicago police officer Richard Wooten, who ran in 2011.

Sawyer has represented the 6th Ward, covering the Englewood, Chatham and Park Manor neighborhoods, since 2011. Some political observers predict the seat is likely safe for Sawyer, who has pulled in far more endorsements and campaign cash than his opponents.

7th Ward

In the 7th Ward race, in which a runoff is likely, seven challengers are taking on Ald. Natashia Holmes (7th), who Emanuel appointed in 2013 to fill former Ald. Sandi Jackson's seat.

Jackson resigned from the city council in January 2013, about a month before she was charged with and later plead guilty to income tax fraud in connection with conspiring with her husband, former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., to illegally spend some $750,000 in campaign funds. Sandi Jackson was sentenced to 12 months in prison for the tax crime. Jesse Jackson Jr. is currently serving a 30-month prison term.

The South Side ward includes parts of Calumet Heights, Jeffery Manor, South Shore and other neighborhoods.

Candidates competing against Holmes include Keiana Barrett, Sandi Jackson's former chief of staff; teacher LaShonda Curry; Flora "Flo" Digby, founder of the Empowering South Shore non-profit; IT manager Gregory Mitchell; retired Chicago police sergeant Joseph Moseley; community organizer Margie Reid; and Bernie Reilly, who worked under the late Mayor Harold Washington as a computer analyst.

According to an analysis by DNAinfo Chicago, Holmes received nearly $36,700 in support from Chicago Forward, the super PAC friendly to Emanuel and his council allies.

15th Ward

Six candidates are running for the open 15th Ward seat.

The ward's current Ald. Toni Foulkes, a member of the Progressive Reform Coalition, is running in the neighboring 16th Ward after her original 15th Ward, which was predominately black, was redrawn into a Hispanic-majority ward in the 2012 remap.

The 15th Ward includes parts of the Englewood, Back of the Yards, Brighton Park and Gage Park neighborhoods.

Those competing for the 15th Ward seat include building engineer Eddie Daniels; pastor Otis Davis Jr.; 15th Ward Democratic Committeeman Raymond Lopez; attorney Adolfo Mondragon; Raul Reyes, an employee of the Chicago City Clerk's office; and Rafael Yanez, a crime specialist with the Chicago Police Department.

The progressive group United Working Families, formed by the Chicago Teachers Union, SEIU* Healthcare, Action Now and Grassroots Illinois Action, has thrown its support behind Yanez.

16th Ward

The late Ald. JoAnn Thompson, who died suddenly of heart failure on February 9, represented Chicago's 16th Ward on the South Side since 2007.

Thompson was in a contentious race against Foulkes before her death. The Chicago Forward super PAC donated nearly $20,590 to Thompson for her re-election bid.

Voters will not be able to cast a vote for Thompson on Election Day, as her name has been removed from paper ballots and voting machines, said Chicago Board of Elections Commissioner spokesman Jim Allen.

Any votes for Thompson via non-replacement absentee or early voting ballots will be counted, he said.

It would be "highly unlikely" for Thompson to win the election, Allen said, noting that the alderman's name appeared on the ballot for only the first two days of early voting before being removed, and absentee ballots were also replaced.

Foulkes is now competing against three candidates, including Stephanie Coleman, daughter of former 16th Ward Ald. Shirley Coleman; Jose Garcia, who works at a heating, ventilating and air conditioning firm in the ward; and West Englewood resident Cynthia Lomax.

The ward covers portions of the Chicago Lawn, Englewood, Gage Park and West Englewood neighborhoods.

17th Ward

Three candidates are duking it out for the 17th Ward seat being vacated by longtime Ald. Latasha Thomas, an attorney who is stepping down to practice law full-time.

Pastor James Dukes, Glenda Franklin, founder and executive director of the youth-focused nonprofit What About The Children Here, and David Moore, a Cook County Board of Review staff member, are running in the 17th Ward, which includes parts of Englewood, Gresham, Marquette Park, West Chatham and West Englewood.

United Working Families is supporting Moore in the 17th Ward race.

22nd Ward

Three contenders are challenging incumbent Ald. Ricardo Munoz in the 22nd Ward, which includes parts of the Garfield Ridge and Little Village neighborhoods.

Those taking on Munoz, a Progressive Reform Coalition member, include small business owner Neftalie Gonzalez, Robert Martinez, a 22nd Ward Committeeman for the Chicago Republican Party, and substitute teacher Raul Montes, Jr.

Munoz has been on the city council since 1993, when he was appointed by former Mayor Richard M. Daley to replace then-alderman Jesus "Chuy" Garcia after he was elected to the Illinois Senate. Garcia is currently running for Chicago mayor.

Police manpower, affordable housing and the city's tax increment financing program have been some of the issues discussed in the race, which is not on the races-to-watch list.

That's likely because Munoz is the only candidate with cash on hand. Munoz has also been endorsed by the Chicago TribuneChicago Sun-Times, Democracy for America and the Independent Voters of Illinois, Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO), among many other groups.

24th Ward

This crowded West Side race could see a runoff.

Ten candidates are competing to replace retiring Ald. Michael Chandler (24th).

The 24th Ward aldermanic hopefuls include Frank Bass, who runs a lobbying firm; businesswoman Vetress Boyce; LaDarius Curtis, who serves on the board of the West Side-based social services organization Goodcity; post office employee Sherita Ann Harris; former Chicago Bulls player Wallace "Mickey" Johnson; Regina Lewis, founder and CEO of Ashunti Residential Management Systems Inc., a West Side drug abuse and addiction treatment center; 24th Ward Committeeman for the Cook County Republican Party Larry Nelson; Michael Scott Jr., Chicago Park District manager for the central region; insurance agent Darren Tillis; and Chicago police officer Roger Washington, who is also an ordained pastor.

Hot topics discussed by the vote seekers in the 24th Ward, which covers parts of North Lawndale, South Austin and West Garfield Park, have included public safety, job creation and economic development, to name a few.

Click through for more on this contest.

25th Ward

The 25th Ward, in which four candidates are trying to unseat incumbent Ald. Danny Solis, has runoff potential.

Ogden and Fry took a poll Thursday on the 25th Ward race, showing Solis with 54.2 percent of the vote, though the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.83 percent.

In the poll, three of Solis' challengers, public school teacher Ed Hershey, community activist Jorge Mujica, and University of Illinois at Chicago instructor Byron Sigcho, each garnered about 13 percent of the vote. Coming in last was financial advisor Roberto "Beto" Montano with 5.8 percent of the vote.

The 25th Ward covers areas of Chinatown, Little Italy, Pilsen, Heart of Chicago and the West Loop.

Solis has taken heat from his opponents over plans for a controversial metal shredder in Pilsen near Benito Juarez Community Academy. The alderman supports the project, saying it includes proper community safeguards and will bring jobs to the area. Read about the metal shredder project here.

Chicago Forward has donated about $29,130 to Solis.

31st Ward

Incumbent Ald. Ray Suarez (31st), who was first elected alderman of the Northwest Side ward in 1991, could be headed into a runoff, according to a poll conducted Tuesday by Ogden & Fry. Suarez faces three challengers.

The poll of 297 likely voters showed Suarez receiving 49.8 percent of the respondents' support. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.8 percent.

Coming in second in the poll was Milagros "Milly" Santiago, a former reporter, who garnered 32 percent of the potential voters' support. The two other aldermanic challengers, Sean Starr, a lawyer and professor, and Irma Cornier, a community outreach coordinator at NewLife 316, garnered 12.5 percent and 5.7 percent of the vote, respectfully.

The 31st Ward includes portions of the Belmont Cragin, Portage Park, Hermosa and Logan Square neighborhoods.

Read Progress Illinois' coverage of the 31st Ward contest here.

32nd Ward

Chicago's 32nd Ward race pits incumbent Ald. Scott Waguespack against small business owner Elise Doody-Jones. The 32nd ward, located on the city's North Side, includes Bucktown, East Village, Goose Island, Hamlin Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Pulaski Park, Roscoe Village and Wicker Park. The ward also picked up parts of Logan Square and Palmer Square under the remap, while losing Ukrainian Village as well as portions of Lincoln Park and Wicker Park/Bucktown, according to the incumbent's website.

Waguespack, who has held the 32nd Ward seat since 2007, is a Progressive Reform Coalition member. Doody-Jones formerly served as treasurer of 1st Ward First, an independent political organization in Chicago's 1st Ward that supports the ward's current alderman, Joe Moreno.

Waguespack, who has maintained a significant financial advantage over Doody-Jones, has been the target of attack ads by the Chicago Forward super PAC.

At a recent candidate forum, Doody-Jones said she had nothing to do with the super PAC's anti-Waguespack mailings, adding that she has not taken money from Emanuel or Chicago Forward.  

The pro-charter group Democrats for Education Reform-Illinois has endorsed Doody-Jones, while a slew of progressive and labor groups, including the Chicago Teachers Union, are backing Waguespack. The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times also endorsed Waguespack over Doody-Jones.

Click through for more on the 32nd Ward race.

33rd Ward

In Chicago's 33rd Ward, incumbent Ald. Deb Mell is being challenged by Tim Meegan, a public school teacher at Roosevelt High School, and Annisa Wanat, a non-profit consultant and former Peace Corps volunteer. Mell, the daughter of former Ald. Dick Mell (33rd), was appointed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fill her father's council seat after he retired in July 2013. The 33rd Ward encompasses the neighborhoods of Albany Park, Avondale, Irving Park and Ravenswood Manor.

Mell could be "in trouble," according to an Ogden & Fry poll from February 6. The poll showed Mell with 33 percent of the vote, followed by Meegan at 24 percent and Wanat at 12 percent, with 30 percent of poll respondents undecided.

Mell has taken heat for her ties to the political "machine" as well as in-kind contributions she received from the 33rd Ward Democratic Ward Organization, operated by the elder Mell, for office spaced also owned by her father, who is now a registered lobbyist. 

For her part, Mell has touted a number of accomplishments as alderman, including efforts around affordable housing, cracking down on "absentee" landlords, making the ward office more accessible and voting to raise the minimum wage to $13 by 2019. She has received more than $50,600 in support from the pro-Emanuel Chicago Forward super PAC.

Meegan has said he will join the city's Progressive Reform Coalition, if elected.

Read Progress Illinois' coverage of the 33rd Ward race here.

36th Ward

The 36th Ward aldermanic race is "almost certain" to have a runoff, according to an Ogden & Fry poll conducted last Monday.

Four candidates are vying for the 36th Ward seat, left vacant by Ald. Nicholas Sposato, who is running in the 38th Ward due to the city's ward remap. The survey of 226 likely voters showed Omar Aquino, a former employee of U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D, IL-8), polling at 39.8 percent, followed by business owner Gilbert Villegas at 27.9 percent, business owner Christopher Vittorio at 25.2 percent and reference librarian Alonso Zaragoza at 5.8 percent. 

The 36th Ward covers portions of the Belmont Cragin, Dunning, Galewood, Hermosa, Montclare and Portage Park neighborhoods.

38th Ward

Sposato, a Progressive Reform Coalition member, is one of seven candidates running in the 38th Ward, which includes the Dunning and Portage Park neighborhoods.

Current 38th Ward Ald. Tim Cullerton is retiring.

Sposato has a strong fundraising lead over his six opponents, including Belinda Cadiz, a Chicago City Council legislative aide; real estate agent and property manager Tom Caravette, who lost to Cullerton in the ward's 2011 runoff election; retired city water department supervisor Michael Duda; city water department investigator Carmen Hernandez; Cook County Forest Preserve Sgt. Jerry Paszek; and Heather Sattler, chief operating officer at the 100 Club of Chicago. Cullerton is supporting Sattler in the contest.

A Ogden and Fry poll conducted February 2 showed Sposato leading his challengers with over 46 percent of the vote. About 23 percent of likely voters were undecided in the poll, which had a margin of error of 4.54 percent. According to Odgen and Fry's polling memo, there is a "good chance" Sposato will win re-election on Tuesday and avoid a runoff.

Coming in second in the poll was Paszek at 8.7 percent, followed by Sattler in third place at 7.2 percent.

43rd Ward

Incumbent Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) could be be forced into a runoff.

Three candidates are challenging Smith, who is seeking a second term, including Jen Kramer, director of entertainment and special events at Navy Pier, Inc.; Caroline Vickrey, a Local School Council member at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School and former lawyer in the Illinois Attorney General's Office; and marketing consultant Jerry Quandt.

Smith has come under attack from her opponents over her handling of the Children's Memorial Hospital redevelopment as well as the expansion of the overcrowded Lincoln Elementary School. Other hot issues in the 43rd Ward race have included public safety, development projects and transportation, including the discontinued No. 11 bus route, to name a few.

The first-term alderman is also facing criticism from her challengers over news that Smith receives a $72,000 salary -- in addition to the $108,000 she earns annually as alderman -- by moonlighting as a part-time consultant for the Helen Coburn Meier & Tim Meier Charitable Foundation. Smith's opponents have questioned whether she is truly a "full-time" alderman as she's claimed.

For her part, Smith told the Chicago Tribune late last month, "I do a little work, in my spare time, for a nonprofit arts foundation."

"I work as a full-time alderman, working over 60 hours a week, and my constituents know it," she said. "And that's what I'm focused on in this race, and my constituents can see me out there every day, all day."

Kramer, meanwhile, has also raised some eyebrows over "offensive" messages she posted on her Twitter account.

The 43 Ward includes Lincoln Park and portions of the Gold Coast and Old Town.

45th Ward

Three candidates are challenging incumbent Ald. John Arena (45th), a Progressive Reform Coalition member, in this far Northwest Side race that might experience a runoff.

One of the challengers, Chicago Police Lt. John Garrido, lost to Arena in the 2011 election by 30 votes. Garrido landed in hot water this month after he put up a Facebook post offering ward residents a discount to 12 restaurants and businesses if they show their municipal election voting receipts. Under state law, it is illegal for someone to offer "any money or other valuable consideration" to potential voters.

poll conducted last week on behalf of the SEIU Illinois State Council showed a majority of likely voters in the ward believe some action should be taken against Garrido for the Facebook posting, which has since been removed from the candidate's social media page. 

The 45th Ward includes Jefferson Park, Gladstone Park, Old Irving Park, Portage Park and Forest Glen.

* The SEIU Illinois Council sponsors this website.

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