04/07/2011 02:45 pm ET Updated Jun 07, 2011

45th Ward Runoff: John Arena Claims Victory In Aldermanic Race, Garrido Still Holding Out

As far as political close calls go, the aldermanic runoff in the 45th Ward is about as good as it gets.

The unofficial tally currently pegs candidate John Arena at 6,053 votes, with rival John Garrido at 6,024 -- a 29-vote differential, or less than half of one percent.

According to the Arena camp, though, that margin is enough to call it a done deal. "Alderman-elect Arena is excited for the opportunity to get the ward moving forward," Jake Breymaier, the campaign manager, told HuffPost Chicago. He said that the city's Sergeant at Arms contacted their office Wednesday to start the transition process.

Not so fast, says Garrido. His staff says that there are at least 49 absentee and provisional ballots that won't be counted until Friday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Jim Allen at the Chicago Board of Elections confirms to HuffPost Chicago that the number of those ballots is, in fact, 48.

All told, he said, there were 73 absentee ballots that were sent out and not tallied on Election Day. Aside from those 48, that leaves 25 more that could arrive in the coming days -- if they're postmarked by April 4, and properly filled out, they too could be counted.

Garrido, who ran as a Republican in the primary for Cook County Board President last year, would have to win an overwhelming majority of these absentee ballots to make up the difference. Meanwhile, his opponent, a progressive Democrat who aligns himself with aldermen like Waguespack, Munoz and Moreno, isn't wasting any time. "We had a campaign promise of a 48-hour turnaround on service requests and we can't do that if we're not transitioned and ready to roll on day one," Breymaier told Progress Illinois.

And in a vote of confidence, he's already gotten a nickname from powerful Alderman Ed Burke, a sardonic reference to his apparently narrow victory. "He said he's going to call me 'Landslide,'" Arena said, according to NBC Chicago.