38th Ward Alderman Nicholas Sposato loans his campaign $100,000, says he’s running in 2023; Far NW Side alderman, known for his more conservative stances, first elected to council in 2011
by BRIAN NADIG
38th Ward Alderman Nicholas Sposato, possibly the most conservative member of the City Council, announced today, Feb. 24, that he intends to seek re-election in 2023.
Sposato said that he loaned his campaign $100,000 on Feb. 24 to demonstrate the seriousness of his intentions. “I am constantly being asked if I am running for re-election,” Sposato said. “I am hoping that this will help clarify my intention to run in 2023.”
Sposato, a retired firefighter, has multiple sclerosis. He said that his overall health is good despite dealing with the challenges of MS.
“My brain is fine,” said Sposato, who once indicated that elected officials should not be in office for more than about 10 years. “I think a lot of work still needs to be done. I don’t want to see the city go down the tubes.”
The current ward boundaries include parts of Jefferson Park, Portage Park and Dunning, stretching out to the far western boundaries of the city. The new boundaries for the 38th Ward may not be determined until this summer, as the city remap — which occurs every 10 years — could be decided by a referendum in the June 28 primary election.
Sposato was first elected alderman of the 36th Ward in 2011 and then due to a ward remap, he later ran in the 38th Ward, winning in 2015 and 2019.
In 2015 he received 54 percent of the vote, defeating six challengers and avoiding a run-off election. In 2019, he faced no challengers on the ballot.
“That’s almost unheard of, winning with 54 percent of the vote in a seven-way race,” he said.
Sposato said that while his support of first responders may not match the views of the more liberal members of the council, he feels he’s a good fit for what he describes as the “second-most, conservative-leaning ward” in the city, only behind he said the 41st Ward, which includes Edison Park and Norwood Park.
It’s not unusual for Sposato to be in the headlines, as his remarks at council meetings can be in sharp contrast to those of colleagues.
However, he insists that he’s not controversial, instead describing himself as taking a “common-sense” approach when deciding how to vote. He most recently attracted media attention when he questioned the city’s plans to pay a $1.7 million settlement in a police misconduct case and when he criticized the recent tax fraud conviction of Patrick Daley Thompson, who later resigned as alderman.
“I do my due diligence. I attend briefings, ask questions,” Sposato said. “I’m not a rubber stamp.”
Sposato was once a member of the council’s Progressive Caucus. When he left the group, he said that he considers himself liberal on union issues but conservative on social matters.
In 2017 Sposato, who is not known for hiding his support of of former President Donald Trump, resigned as the 38th Ward Democratic committeeeperson.
In political circles, it is anticipated that Sposato will be challenged in 2023 by at least one progressive candidate.
Sposato has been critical of the city’s new affordable housing requirements and opposes the city’s new universal basic income program, which gives $500 a month for a year to select low-income households.
Sposato said that his campaign account has close to $190,000 following today’s loan.