Tuesday, April 21, 2015

EXTRA: A 20-vote lead, will it hold?

Tuesday was the final day by which Chicago Elections Board officials had to validate and count provisional ballots from the April 7 elections, while also processing absentee ballots that were put in the mail (and post-marked accordingly) by Election Day.

The final day of the canvass and the announcement of results for those municipal elections is April 28.

FOR MOST POLITICAL people, it doesn’t matter. There was no way Jesus Garcia would close a 75,000 vote gap to overtake Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

But in the 10th Ward (the land where Indiana is the nearby reality that gives us a Whiting-based oil refinery that really stinks up the air), there was always the chance of a last-minute shift in votes that could alter the aldermanic election results.

Challenger Susan Sadlowski Garza went from a seven-vote lead over Alderman John Pope on Election Night, to an 89-vote lead once all the precincts were counted to a 33-vote lead once the first rounds of absentee ballots were counted.

As of Tuesday, she was down to a 20-vote lead. That’s 5,825 votes for Garza to 5,805 for Pope. As in Garza, a Chicago Teachers Union official who got in the race originally thinking she’d be a running-mate of sorts to Karen Lewis’ mayoral aspirations, has 50.09 percent voter support.

THAT’S CLOSE! THAT’S got to hurt for Pope – a 16-year member of the City Council – if he comes that close to winning re-election, but doesn’t. It would take something of historic proportions for him to prevail now!

By this point, it would seem that Garza is going into the history books along with Lyndon Johnson’s 1948 victory for the U.S. Senate – an 87-vote victory margin, albeit with over 1 million votes cast to the 11,600-plus for the 10th Ward election.

Someone may wind up tagging her with a nickname as memorable as “Landslide Lyndon.” Right now, my mind is a blank. Although I’m sure Garza will settle for the label that ultimately is the only one that matters.



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