Lakefront aldermanic races are Far Left galore
Analysis & Opinion by Russ Stewart
“It’s despicable,” fumed Alderman Nick Sposato (38th) over the campaign run by Cynthia Santos, one of his 5 opponents next year. Despicable is defined as deserving to be despised, to be viewed with scorn, contempt and disdain.
“Her workers lied about me and lied about my health,” said Sposato, who is wheelchair-bound due to multiple sclerosis. Sposato came in with about 1,800 signatures on his petitions, Santos with 2,100 and Ed Bannon with 1,100. “She (Santos) got most (of her signatures) on Election Day, outside ward polling places. Her people were telling voters that I was ‘sick,’ or that I was retiring. They were deceitful.” Santos has denied this allegation.
Sposato, age 64, added: “My mind is sharp, my staff is great (and) I am able to continue serving” as alderman. By his Dec. 8 fund-raiser he will have raised $265,000 during 2021-22. Meanwhile, Bannon, a sometime protégé of Rob Martwick and John Arena, is busily knocking on doors.
Martwick, meanwhile, is busily searching for “clarity” in the 38th Ward. There has to be some of that stuff somewhere, maybe at a pharmacy or through Amazon. But don’t confuse it with a nasal spray. Clarity is defined politically as free from impediment or obstruction – like in this case Bannon. “I support each,” meaning BOTH Bannon and Sposato, said Martwick, the area’s state senator and 38th Dems committeeperson. “They’re both my friends,” claiming that he gave both $1,000 recently. WAIT A MINUTE. They’re running against each other. He has to pick one and, being on the ballot in 2024, he better pick right.
Bannon is a 38th Dem member and he is invested in the race, meaning having spent time and energy. He has a severe case of candidate-itis, meaning he thinks he can win. That’s not odd. Martwick likely wants him to drop out, but he won’t at this point. There will be a runoff. And Martwick will suffer collateral political damage.
Chicago’s population is 2,695,598, so that means there are roughly 54,000 people per ward. The city current voter registration is 1,498,613, roughly 57 percent of the population. Voter turnout varies from election to election. In 2019, despite an open mayoral seat, it was only 35.5 percent in the primary and 33.1 percent in the runoff. 2023 will not be much different, although there are 10 not 14 mayor candidates. There are also 15 open (or appointed) aldermanic seats.
Eons ago aldermen used to promise (or boast) about delivering city services. Now people just dial 311 or go online. Aldermen have evolved into being ideological advocates for specific causes (Woke/Left, pro-police, etc.) or symbols of a certain demographic (race, gender, sexual orientation), not quality-of-life protectors. What is deemed “despicable” is NOT being enough woke or enough to the Left. What they say is more important than what they do. There are 6 aldermanic races along the LAKEFRONT (wards 42/43/44/46/48/49) with 32 candidates running (and 4 open seats) and 6 races along RIVER NORTH (1/32/33/40/47/50) with 15 candidates (and no open seats).
And winning is all about THE BASE, which this cycle is being the Leftmost candidate and capturing the majority of ideological Leftists who vote and know for whom to vote. The open seat goal, of course, is to finish first or second and get into the April 4 runoff. And as the chart depicts, 3-4,000 votes will do it in a multi-candidate field. The number of registered voters may range from 26,000-40,000 in various wards (see chart), but with the backing of groups like United Working Families (UWF), the grassroots arm of CTU and SEIU Healthcare, which provides funding, the task of turning-out THE BASE is simplified. UWF has recruited and is bankrolling 18 2023 candidates, including 6 incumbents. Also involved are far Left groups like Indivisible Illinois, One People Campaign, Democracy for America and Chicago Democratic Socialists of America (CDSA).
The expectation is that they will all coalesce behind the Leftmost candidate in a runoff. Because the election is non-partisan, the city Democratic Party did not recruit candidates. The ward committeepersons can back whomever they want but they won’t get party resources.
The yardstick to watch is the Kim Foxx vote in the 2020 primary for state’s attorney. It was over 63 percent in the Rogers Park 49th Ward, but under 34 percent in the Gold Coast 42nd Ward. Foxx checks all the Left’s boxes, being a Black female whose “criminal justice” views fit the narrative. Others view her as anti-police and soft-on-crime, but not on the Lakefront or River North.
46TH WARD (Uptown): Incumbent James Cappleman is retiring after 12 years, and after winning in 2019 by just 25 votes in the runoff (7,074-7,059). The runner-up was Marianne Lalonde, a scientific research consultant who got 18.1 percent in the primary. Her main rival is UWF-backed Angela Clay, who got 15.4 percent in the 2019 primary.
But very much in the runoff mix are Kim Walz, a staffer for Mike Quigley when he was county commissioner prior to 2009. Both Quigley (D-5), now a congressman, and colleague Jan Schakowsky (D-9) have endorsed Walz. Also credible is Patrick Nagle, chief judge for the Social Security Administration, who has money, and Roushaunda Williams, endorsed by Unite Here, the hotel workers’ union, which also has money. Any of the four could make the runoff by getting 20-22 percent on Feb. 28.
48TH WARD (Edgewater): Incumbent Harry Osterman is retiring after 12 years; his mother was once the alderwoman. Ten candidates have filed, the most credible being Joe Dunne, a developer who builds affordable housing, Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, a small business owner backed by Indivisible Illinois, and Nick Ward, a waiter and LSC member backed by CDSA. Any of the 3 could make the runoff.
43RD WARD (Lincoln Park): Incumbent Michele Smith has already bailed and the mayor appointed Timmy Knudsen, who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community and chair of the city Zoning Board. Also running are Brian Comer, president of Sheffield Neighbors; Rebecca Janowitz, a criminal justice activist; Wendi Taylor Nations, a marketing executive endorsed by Smith; 2-time loser Steven McClellan and Steve Botsford. Expect a Knudsen-Janowitz runoff.
44TH WARD (Lakeview): Incumbent Tom Tunney, the city’s first openly gay alderman, is retiring after 20 years. The ward has the city’s largest LGBTQ population. Tunney will be succeeded by his 15-year chief-of-staff Bennett Lawson.
49TH WARD (Rogers Park): Perhaps the most liberal ward in Chicago, with a huge young singles population, the more affluent living in condo conversions and the rest in dinky, over-priced apartments. Hadden, a “democratic socialist,” ousted 28-year incumbent Joe Moore with 63.4 percent in 2019. Hadden faces Bill Morton, a small business owner running as a centrist. She also faces Belia Rodriguez and Williamton Davis. Hadden will win big.
1ST WARD (Logan Square, Bucktown, Ukrainian Village): Aldermanic comebacks are rare and Proco “Joe” Moreno won’t be a rarity.” He lost to Daniel La Spata by 61.3-38.7 in 2019. The ward has gentrified, losing the Latino parts of Streeterville and West Town to the 36th Ward. The next alderman will likely be Sam Royko, lawyer and son of the late columnist Mike Royko, who will beat LaSpata in the runoff.