Robert Murphy captures 39th Ward Democratic committeeman’s race


Forest Glen resident Robert Murphy captured about 54 percent of the vote in the 39th Ward Democratic committeeman’s race, defeating incumbent Patrick Molloy in the March 15 primary.

With 89 percent of the precincts reporting, Murphy had 5,106 votes to Molloy’s 4,366 votes, according to unofficial results from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

Last year Molloy replaced longtime committeeman Randy Barnette, who is married to Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th), after Barnette resigned. Molloy, a Sauganash resident, works as the director of government and public affairs for the Chicago Public Library.

Murphy is not a newcomer to the political scene, as he received 43 percent of the vote when he lost his 2015 bid in a three-candidate race to unseat Laurino as the ward’s alderman. His committeeman’s victory and strong showing in the aldermanic race could fuel speculation about whether Laurino will seek re-election, given Murphy’s possible aldermanic candidacy in 2019.

During the his committeeman campaign, Murphy charged that the Laurino family had controlled political positions in the ward for too long and had created a climate of fear in which some ward residents were afraid to express their political beliefs. Murphy has said that some of his supporters feared “repercussions after the election” if they posted a sign for Murphy’s campaign and that in many instances his signs were stolen from lawns.

Murphy, an architect and past president of the Forest Glen Community Club, was a founding member of the Fair Allocation In Runways Coalition, which is working to reduce jet noise from O’Hare Airport. Another founding member was Jac Charlier, who lost his bid in the Democratic primary to unseat 15th District state Representative John D’Amico, who is Laurino’s nephew.

In a statement issued during the campaign, Molloy said, “If you ask those that I have worked closely with over the years, regardless of their feelings toward other local officials, they will tell you that I have always worked hard on behalf of communities in the ward.”

The 39th Ward includes Indian Woods, Forest Glen, Sauganash and parts of Mayfair and Edgebrook.