The two candidates in the race for the 50th Ward aldermanic seat appeared on WTTW's "Chicago Tonight" Tuesday, and the incumbent in the race made an astonishing on-air claim about his challenger.
When Debra Silverstein attacked sitting Alderman Bernie Stone over ethics concerns, Stone responded with an animated counterattack, saying that Silverstein "takes monies from slumlords" and "a terrorist who preaches the destruction of Israel." (Scroll down to watch the comments.)
Silverstein, who is Jewish, and running in a ward with a sizable Jewish community, was baffled by the allegations. Stone pulled out a file that he claimed had evidence to justify his statements, but moderator Phil Ponce interrupted the back-and-forth, saying that they didn't have time to go further into the matter.
Stone's campaign has not immediately responded to requests for further documentation on the matter.
The race between Silverstein and Stone has hardly been a model of civility to this point. Stone was quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times saying his opponent has only “experience in the field of being a housewife," and has cried foul over accusations that he is too old for the job. Silverstein says she has been careful not to make age an issue in her race against the 83-year-old incumbent, captured on camera asleep during numerous City Council meetings.
Stone was elected to the City Council in 1973. In the 1980s, he briefly joined the Republican Party during a run for the office of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. He lost in that race to Carol Moseley Braun after infamously telling newspapers that refused to endorse him to "just run a picture of Braun," suggesting that her race would be a boon to his candidacy. Stone lost that election handily, but stayed on in the City Council. Most recently, he won a narrow victory over challenger Naisy Dolar in 2007, though two of his former campaign workers were arrested after that election for allegedly attempting to manipulate absentee ballots in his favor.
Silverstein, a certified public accountant, is the only candidate running against an incumbent to win the endorsement of mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel. She is also backed by the Democratic Ward Committeeman in the 50th -- her husband, Ira Silverstein.
Watch Stone's attack on Silverstein, starting at around 5:15: