Stay tuned to this live blog throughout the day for coverage of the Chicago aldermanic runoffs, as voters in 14 of the city's 50 wards decide the future make-up of the City Council.
In an astonishing story out of the 16th Ward, third-time loser Hal Baskin was arrested at a polling place for yelling at an election judge.
“I can’t remember this happening to a candidate in my years at the Board of Elections,” said Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.Baskin entered the Nicholson School at 6066 S. Peoria, pointed his finger at an election judge and started shouting, accusing the judge of talking trash about Baskin in the neighborhood, Allen said.
Baskin appears to have lost to freshman alderman JoAnn Thompson.
All 64 precincts in the 6th Ward are in, and Roderick Sawyer is up 134 votes on the incumbent, Freddrenna Lyle.
All 57 precincts in the 41st are also in, and Mary O'Connor is up more than 250 votes, or just about two percent, over Maurita Gavin.
Michele Smith has a 2.3 percent lead over Tim Egan in the 43rd, but there's still one precinct still out in that race, with a margin of 220 votes.
And John Arena has taken a tiny lead with all 53 precincts reporting in the 45th: he is up 29 votes in a race that has been unbelievably close all night.
Arena/Garrido likely won't be resolved for some time; we'll surely start hearing about conditional ballots and the like before long. Unclear how prolonged the situation in the other three wards will be, or what's up with that one missing precinct.
Another batch of precincts just came in, and some races are getting cleared up. Ald. Thomas has won, it appears, with a five percent lead with 62 of 64 precincts reporting. And Ald. Cochran has got it wrapped up in the 20th, with a 7% lead and 94% of precincts reporting.
Of the remaining four races, it's now 51-49 O'Connor's way in the 41st Ward, with only one precinct still out, so that looks pretty good for Mary. Similarly, Michele Smith is up 51-49 with two precincts out out in the 43rd.
The other two are, somehow, closer. Roderick Sawyer's up 111 votes, or just over one percent, in the 6th Ward over incumbent Freddrenna Lyle with one precinct still out. And there's still one precinct out in the 45th, where Garrido is up by 28 votes over Arena.
Four of the runoffs are within 3 points; three are within 1%.
Sawyer leads incumbent Lyle by 68 votes in the 6th Ward. Smith leads Egan in the open-seat race in the 43rd by 77 votes. John Garrido has taken a 28-vote lead with 52 of 53 precincts reporting in the 45th. And Mary O'Connor has a 299-vote lead over Maurita Gavin with six precincts still out there.
The two other races we haven't "called": Ald. Cochran looks pretty good over Rhymefest in the 20th, with a 54-46 lead with 88% percent of precincts in; and Ald. Thomas has a 53-47 lead with 86% of precincts in.
These Board of Elections cats are pretty good at predicting turnout, although they may have lowballed it a bit: with around 85% of votes in, turnout is around 24.7%. The Board predicted around 25% turnout, so it'll probably be a bit higher than that by the time all's said and done. Awfully low, but given that it's an aldermanic runoff...
Neglected to mention this one before, but Thompson has a 500-vote lead with all but three precincts in; that's a 15% lead in the low-turnout 16th Ward. She's got it.
With all but one precincts reporting in the 25th, Solis appears to have it wrapped up in the 25th, with a 700-vote lead over challenger Temoc Morfin. Seems pretty certain.
50 out of 53 precincts have reported. John Garrido has 5,646 votes; John Arena has 5,688. That's a margin of 42 votes.
Ald. Foulkes continues to be up 2-to-1 in the 15th; she appears certain to win.
Chandler is up 60-40 on incumbent Ald. Dixon, with 82% reporting; he seems like a lock to take back his old seat in the 24th.
Incumbent Cullerton is up by a similar margin in the 38th, with a similar number of precincts reporting, why not give him the nod.
Sposato is up 56-44 with 90 percent of precincts in the 36th; it would be a heck of a thing if Alderman Rice could pull this one off.
Although it might be a bit premature, Cappleman's 56-44 lead over Phelan with 72% of precincts in looks pretty good as well.
And finally, it appears time to say goodbye to an alderman who's been serving for almost 40 years: Berny Stone continues to be down 60-40 to Debra Silverstein with 80 percent of precincts in.
That marks three incumbents down already, with other races probably too close to calll.
A handful of other precincts came in, but nothing decisive in the handful of close races. Solis took a 220-vote lead over Morfin in 25, but otherwise little movement. More to come momentarily.
O'Connor and Arena extended slim leads in this latest batch of votes. Morfin did as well, now up 245 votes over Alderman Solis in the 25th.
Alderman Dixon in the 24th appears to be done for: with 43 out of 56 precincts reporting, she's down 60-40. And there's no better news for Berny Stone in the 50th, as he's now down 62-38. Latasha Thomas in the 17th reclaimed a slight lead with 60% of precincts in, and Rhymefest is losing to Ald. Willie Cochran in the 20th by a 53-47 margin with 62% of precincts counted.
Meanwhile, Ald. Rice is down 56-44 with the vast majority of votes counted in the 36th.
Looks like plenty of incumbents are going to get the boot tonight...
With a new batch of votes counted, incumbent Berny Stone looks to be in trouble in the 50th, with Debra Silverstein leading 60-40 with 50 percent of ballots counted.
Arena/Garrido in the 45th is very close with 70 percent of precincts counted -- Arena has a 200-vote lead. Egan/Smith is even closer, with 50 percent of precincts counted -- Michele Smith has a four-vote edge (!!). The 41st Ward is also incredibly close, with 45 out of 57 precincts reporting: Mary O'Connor holds a nine-vote advantage.
Morfin/Solis in 25 closed significantly as well: with 19 out of 31 precincts reporting, Morfin has a 40-vote advantage.
Incumbent Latasha Thomas in the 17th leads David Moore by 34 votes. Fellow incumbent Freddrenna Lyle in the 6th is up 102 votes.
Nails are being bitten all over the city.
Chandler up two-to-one in the 24th, with 20 percent of that ward's votes in already. Looking rough for Dixon early on.
In an intriguing result (that may not hold, but still), Temoc Morfin's up 51-48 with nine of 31 precincts reporting.
Sposato's up on incumbent Rice in 36, 53-47, with 20 of 55 precincts in. And Cappleman's up 57-43 over Molly Phelan in the 46th Ward with 9 of 47 precincts in.
More to come.
Polls are closed. Results should be in soon.
The Cook County State's Attorney was already monitoring precincts in the 25th Ward for potential irregularities, and HuffPost Chicago has now received reports from observers in the ward of some underhanded behavior there. From an email message:
There's been a report of people walking off of a white short bus that was bringing people. Some of them claimed that they were paid or to vote for Solis. There were a number of African American people on the bus, of many different ages. 25 people got off the bus.
The Board of Elections and State's Attorney have been contacted.
Less than an hour until polls close... and most polling places haven't exactly been seeing crushing after-work lines. Reports from around the city still suggest that turnout is nigh abysmal. Seems like an extended version of the old "ballot fatigue" phenomenon.
Just because he's backing eight out of the ten incumbents up for re-election in today's runoffs doesn't make Rahm a defender of the status quo, he tells the Trib.
“Before I will support a candidate, incumbent or not, (I ask) ‘Are you for changing City Hall, both the fifth floor and City Council?’,” Emanuel said, adding that he also gauges where they are on ethics and school reform, along with no-bid contracts.“As I talk to the individuals, they have to be committed to that,” he said. “That’s how I evaluate it. Where are you on the goals I set for the city and achieving those goals and that’s the case, a number of incumbents have said they’re there.”
Emanuel's PAC, the New Chicago Committee, has thrown more than 0,000 into the runoffs. Interestingly, he hasn't backed any candidates in the four open-seat races in Wards 41, 43, 45 and 46. He also has not endorsed in the 24th Ward, where incumbent Alderman Sharon Denise Dixon faces a challenge from her predecessor, Michael Chandler.
NBC Chicago's Ward Room blog has ranked the ten incumbent aldermen in today's runoffs in order of most likely to lose their seats. #1 on the list? Sharon Denise Dixon in the 24th, who's facing Michael Chandler, the man who held that seat for the twelve years prior to 2007 when she took it from him.
Safest on the list were JoAnn Thompson in the 16th, who is facing underfunded two-time loser Hal Baskin, and Timothy Cullerton in the 38th, whose family has controlled the seat almost uninterruptedly since 1871.
Who do you think is most likely to lose? What about Berny Stone, or Willie Cochran? Freddrenna Lyle, running against the son of a mayor?
For the complete list, click here.
Progress Illinois confirms what the Trib was reporting: slow going.
In the sleek lobby of a highrise in the heart of Lincoln Park, only three people in the first hour of voting came to cast their ballots, according to a volunteer for Tim Egan, a candidate running against Michele Smith for the open seat in Chicago's 43rd Ward. It was here at polling Precinct 14 that Smith got 62.39 percent of the votes in the February election, her best showing in the ward.
That apathy was also visible at the regal St. Chrysostom’s Church where four precincts (assigned to over 2,000 voters) gathered into one concentrated polling place. In Precinct 28, 380 voted in February (685 are registered in the precinct today), the best turnout in the ward. This time, though, a mere 10 people had voted by 7:30 a.m. Another one of the four polling places sharing the church space was Precinct 35, which has 665 registered voters; just seven had showed to vote in the first hour of voting, something polling judge Susan Nelson optimistically called a “good turnout.” Precinct 42, with 425 registered voters, had four voters turn up in the first hour.
Apparently some precincts around the city are seeing very little action so far. "It's scary quiet," Jim Allen, Chicago Board of Elections spokesman, told the Chicago Tribune. Not that that's a big surprise -- turnout was miserably low even for the big mayoral election in February, and the Board had predicted earlier in the day that around one in four voters would come to the polls. Weather's nice enough, though...