The City Council was sure to see some serious upheaval this election cycle, and the competitiveness of the fights for alderman is showing in tonight’s results: fourteen of the 50 wards appear set to head to runoffs on April 5.
There are still around fifty precincts still waiting to report around the city, but races around Chicago are yet to be determined. And many incumbent aldermen will be facing heated competition in those races six weeks from now.
Ald. Freddrenna Lyle in the 6th Ward will be facing off with Roderick T. Sawyer, son of former mayor Eugene Sawyer. In the 50th, Bernie Stone, the council’s oldest alderman, won only 37 percent of the vote in his five-person race, and will have to take on feisty challenger Debra L. Silverstein, who came in second with 33 percent.
A couple of very crowded races will be significantly narrowed down. The race to replace Helen Shiller in the 46th had eleven candidates on the ballot — James Cappleman and Molly Phelan both won just shy of twenty percent, and will compete for the sixty percent of the vote their nine other candidates split in today’s vote. And in the 24th Ward, incumbent Sharon Denise Dixon and challenger Michael D. Chandler emerged from a field of 18 candidates, the least among whom won only 37 votes.
And as mentioned earlier in the night, Che “Rhymefest” Smith is headed for a runoff with incumbent Willie Cochran in the 20th. Rey Colon narrowly avoided a runoff in the 35th Ward, and Ameya Pawar pulled off the upset win in the 47th, beating Tom O’Donnell without requiring a runoff.
The Chicago News Cooperative reported just how surprising Pawar's win was:
So stunning was the victory that Pawar’s campaign had not scheduled the customary election-night gathering. As returns came in showing that Pawar was winning, his campaign hastily organized a victory gathering at the Timber Lanes bowling alley on West Irving Park Road. Pawar himself hurried in from the suburbs, where he had been watching the returns with his parents.
“I’m surprised,” Pawar said when he finally arrived. “Very surprised.”
“We raised about $10,000,” he said, in response to a reporter’s question. “$100 at a time.”
“We were blown away by what happened,” said Pawar’s campaign manager, Sam Yanover. Ward residents “want something new, something fresh, and they were upset that O’Donnell was anointed to be the successor.”
Other wards with runoffs: 15, 16, 17, 25, 36, 38, 41, 43 and 45.