Alderman Sposato faces no opposition on Feb. 26 ballot after lone challenger kicked off
by BRIAN NADIG
Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th) will be unopposed in the Feb. 26 municipal election as he runs for a third term.
"There were four aldermen running unopposed. I’m now the fifth," Sposato said in response to news that his challenger Ralph Pawlikowski was knocked off the ballot.
Pawlikowski failed to file a motion to dismiss the objection to his nominating petitions and did not show up for two subsequent hearings on the matter, according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
As a result, a hearing officer for the election board recommended a "default judgment" against the candidate for failing to meet the minimum number of 473 qualified signatures on his nominating petitions, according to the election board. The objection, which was filed by Randy Hipman, included a claim that some of the signatures on Pawlikowski’s petitions were from individuals not registered to vote in the ward.
In a Dec. 5 Facebook posting, Pawlikowski said that it would be bad news for the democratic process if his name was removed from the ballot.
"I personally collected over 500 signatures on my own. There should always be two candidates running for office. We both worked hard to get signatures for our petitions. If they successfully knock me off the ballot for the 2019 aldermanic election, then you already know what kind of alderman you will have for the next four years. What ever happened to let the people decide?" Pawlikowski wrote.
Sposato was first elected to the Chicago City Council in 2011, winning in a run-off election against incumbent Alderman John Rice in the 36th Ward. In 2015, he ran in the 38th Ward due to redistricting, and despite seven candidates running for the office, Sposato avoided a run-off by getting 53.58 percent of the vote.
Sposato said that he is "at least 90 percent" sure that his next term, which ends in 2023, will be his last.
"I’ll be 65 in 4 years," he said. "This is a young person’s job, (and) I don’t believe people should be in office for more than about 10 years," Sposato said. "The problem is (once incumbents) get entrenched, it’s hard to get them out."
However, Sposato said that retiring after 10 years is "not a choice" due to the fact that aldermanic terms are 4 years and that he has no plans to "hand off" the seat to someone else by retiring in the middle of his next term.
Sposato has described himself as liberal on union and labor issues but conservative on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. He said that part of his success is not hiding his feelings and that he does not wish "any ill will" against someone for having an opposite viewpoint and that he prays for those who agree and disagree with him.
Also running unopposed on the Far Northwest Side is Alderman Gilbert Villegas (36th). Villegas said that he operates on a simple philosophy, which calls on him to listen to his constituents and provide them with the services they need.