Update: Gardiner-Mathias runoff possible, as Gardiner at just under 50 percent, but nearly 1,900 outstanding mail-in ballots remain in 45th Ward
by BRIAN NADIG
It may not be known for several days whether Northwest Side Alderman James Gardiner (45th) will hit the 50-percent plus one vote plateau or face a runoff election on April 4, while aldermen Nicholas Sposato (38th), Anthony Napolitano (41st) and Samantha Nugent (39th) won their races on Feb. 28.
Gardiner is currently about 50 votes short of hitting that plateau and winning his race, but there are reportedly about 1,900 outstanding mail-in ballots in the 45th Ward.
Ballots received by the Board of Election Commissioners postmarked by Feb. 28 will be counted over the next several days and could impact the final outcome.
If Gardiner does not receive more than 50 percent of the votes in his race, he will face the second place winner, most likely attorney Megan Mathias. She is up by about 300 votes over local business owner James Suh, who currently is in third.
According to unofficial results as of March 2, Gardiner had 7,427 votes, or 49.66 percent, Mathias had 2,408 votes, or 16.09 percent, Suh had 2,108 votes, or 14.09 percent, Susanna Ernst had 1,727 votes, or 11.55 percent, Ana Santoyo had 754 votes, or 5.04 percent, and Marija Tomic had 533 votes, or 3.56 percent, as
Gardiner, a firefighter, is seeking his second term, with his first term being marked by several negative headlines in the media, including the texting of offensive messages about some constituents and others to a former aide, who later released the messages. Gardiner issued a public apology at a City Council meeting.
Gardiner has campaigned on bringing more than $450 million in development to the ward and improving the ward’s infrastructure. Gardiner has been endorsed by many trade unions in addition to the police and firefighter unions.
Under the recent remap, Mathias’ home was removed out of the 45th Ward, but she said that she will move into the ward if she wins. Mathias,’ endorsements include the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Equality Illinois, LGBTQ+ Victory Fund and the Chicago Tribune.
Mathias has said that she will seek innovative solutions to revitalizing the ward’s business districts, which include Six Corners, Edgebrook and Jefferson Park.
On Thursday Mathias expressed confidence that her percentage will increase as more mail-in ballots are counted and that Gardiner will remain under 50 percent of the vote.
“We are excited for a runoff and confident that the vote by mail ballots will increase our percentage of the vote. There will be ballots trickling in over the next week and we will keep you updated. We are grateful for the support of the voters and encouraged to find a significant portion of 45th Ward constituents rejecting the current leadership. We will continue our canvassing efforts and we look forward to bringing together our neighbors to work on shared concerns,” Mathias said.
Suh is a local business owner who is a plaintiff in two pending lawsuits against Gardiner. One of the lawsuits claims that Gardiner violated some constituents’ rights by not letting them comment on the official aldermanic Facebook page. Suh helped organized a protest against Gardiner in 2019, objecting to Gardiner’s delay in approving a proposed senior living development at Six Corners.
Gardiner issued the following statement this week: “The overflow of positivity that has been shared by residents, business owners, and family and friends is contagious. I am humbled to serve our community and look forward to new challenges, new solutions, and new relationships that will help infuse more positivity into our community. Onward and upward.”
In the 39th Ward, Nugent has 8,366 votes, or 63.73 percent, challenger Denali Dasgupta, who had 4,761 votes, or 36.27 percent. This will be the second term for Nugent, a Sauganash resident. The 39th Ward includes Sauganash, Mayfair and the portion of Edgebrook south of Devon Avenue.
“i am incredibly proud of the results from Tuesday. Receiving over 62% of the vote illustrates the community’s support of our work and the progress we have made. I look forward to serving another term in the City Council,” Nugent said.
In the 41st Ward, Napolitano had 12,268 votes, or 74.06 percent, defeating challenger Paul Struebing, who had 4.298 votes, or 25.94 percent. This will be the third term for Napolitano, who has served as both a Chicago firefighter and police officer. The 41st Ward includes Edison Park, Oriole Park and most of Norwood Park.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to continue to serve as alderman of the 41st Ward. I wear the pride for the Northwest Side on my sleeve and will never turn my back on my neighbors for political agenda. I am here to serve the community I grew up in and fight for our core values. This has been a dream job for me. The support for our re-election has been truly overwhelming and something I will never take for granted,” Napolitano said.
In the 38th Ward, Sposato, avoided a runoff election against four challengers. As of March 2, Sposato had 7,018 votes, or 55.80 percent, Ed Bannon had 3,310 votes, or 26.32 percent, Cynthia Santos had 1,331 votes, or 10.58 percent, Franco Reyes had 584 votes, or 4.64 percent, and Bruce Randazzo had 334 votes, or 2.66 percent.
Sposato, who hosts annual “support the police” rallies, is arguably the most conservative member of the City Council. The 38th Ward includes Dunning and portions of Portage Park. This will be Sposato’s fourth term.
In the race for the 16th (Jefferson Park) District Police Council, the top three apparent winners are Colleen Mary Dillon with 19.48 percent, Daniel Martin with 17.70 percent and Colleen Murphy with 17.18 percent of the vote, although there are thousands of outstanding mail-ballots.
Also running were David Feller with 13.77 percent, Trisha Kannon, with 10.97 percent, Dan Butterworth, with 12.63 percent, and John Marcatante, with 8.27 percent.
In the 17th (Albany Park) District Council race, the top three vote getters were Elizabeth Rochford with 27.18 percent, Anthony Michael Tamez with 23.11 percent, and Steve Spagnolo with 21.29 percent, with Brian Sullivan in fourth place with 19.6 percent and Nick Carusi in fifth place, with 9.27 percent.