Wednesday, April 8, 2015

EXTRA: Why can’t it be over?!?

I’m sure it’s frustrating for political operatives – you go through the rigamarole of a campaign season, exchange the political blows, the people express their will by voting.

Yet after all that, we still don’t know who won!

THAT SEEMS TO be the case in four of the city’s 50 wards. There are aldermen who don’t know if they have to begin planning for the next four years, or the next couple of weeks as they should clear out their offices and transition into the next part of their lives.

No ward, it seems, is any tighter than the 10th – that part of Chicago at the far southeast corner filled with lots of contaminated industrial sites and where Indiana is merely the other side of State Line Road and NOT some esoteric concept.

Alderman John Pope, who has been in office since 1999, had 5,465 votes cast for him, compared to 5,472 for Susan Garza – a counselor at Jane Addams Elementary School and an official within the Chicago Teachers Union whose father was a long-time head of the United Steelworkers Union local. So close that both candidates can legitimately claim to have 50 percent of the vote – 50.03 percent and 49.97 percent.

There is one precinct (out of 36 in the ward) where votes still have to be counted, and Garza supporters are optimistic because it seems it is the East Side neighborhood precinct that contains the school itself, at 10810 S. Avenue H.

IT IS A precinct that, back in the Feb. 24 municipal elections, gave Garza 60 percent voter support, with Pope and the other five candidates running then taking the remaining 40 percent.

Garza backers said Wednesday they’re fairly sure they will take that precinct and wind up with more than a seven-vote lead.

Although they say Garza herself plans to wait about a week before any kind of election announcement is made. So we don't know yet if the ward that was the one-time political base of the Vrdolyak clan yet also has had a significant Latino population for decades will finally get its first Latina (by marriage) alderman.

For one thing, there is the potential that absentee ballots were cast in the 10th Ward, which will still trickle in during the next coming days. Who’s to say a slim Pope lead won’t crop up? They also expect that since the election results will be close no matter what, that a recount of the votes will have to be done.

SO WHILE CLAIMS can be made that the City Council that Mayor Rahm Emanuel will have to deal with during his next term will be less sympathetic (so far, no one who ran for alderman as an Emanuel critic has lost), we don’t know the exact composition of the 50 aldermen.

As Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey said Wednesday of the Election results, “the mayor didn’t win the run-off election as much as he survived it.”

On the South Side, the 16th Ward had a potential Emanuel opponent, Toni Foulkes, leading Stephanie Coleman by 50.96 percent to 49.04 percent. To the west, 29th Ward challenger Chris Taliaferro is leading Alderman Deborah Graham 52 to 48 percent.

While on the North Side’s 43rd Ward (including the Lincoln Park neighborhood), incumbent Alderman Michele Smith has just a bare 50.38 percent to 49.62 percent lead over Caroline Vickrey.

SO LIKE IT or not, this election cycle isn’t over yet. April 28 is the date that the Chicago Board of Elections has to complete its canvass and tell us the final official results – so that the transition to the newly-elected officials can take office at noon on May 18.

By then, we will be able to transition directly into the 2016 election cycle, for which some candidates already have started to campaign.

Ah, you have to love the never-ending campaigning for political office!


No comments: