Two West Side aldermen facing runoff

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Two West Side alderman allied with Mayor Rahm Emanuel are heading toward an April 7 runoff.

Ald. Deborah Graham (29th) and Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) failed to get more than 50 percent of the votes needed to avoid a runoff, according to preliminary unofficial totals.

Graham had 40 percent of the vote with 98 percent of the precincts reporting.

Chris Taliaferro, a lawyer and a Chicago Police sergeant,came in second with 22 percent of the vote and will face her in the April runoff.

“I’m super excited about it,” Taliaferro said late Tuesday night.

“Everybody is looking for a change in leadership,” he said.

For her part, Graham thanked supporters and said in a statement, “I’m humbled and grateful for the support I’ve received from the community, and I look forward to the opportunity to continue having conversations with the voters about my plans for safer streets, better schools and more jobs.”

And with all precincts reporting, Mitts had nearly 49 percent of the votes. A spokesman said Mitts will continue to campaign until the spring runoff.

Coming in second to Mitts was Tara Stamps, a Chicago Public Schools teacher, who had 32 percent of the vote. She was endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union.

“I think the voters are sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Stamps said, adding, “For us this is quite a victory. Nobody believed this was even possible.”

The following incumbent aldermen were safe from a runoff: Ricardo Munoz (22nd), with 57 percent of the vote and 96 percent of precincts reporting; Michael Zalewski (23rd), with 67 percent of the vote and all precincts reporting; Roberto Maldonado (26th), with 52 percent of the vote and 98 percent of precincts reporting, and Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), with 74 percent of the vote and 98 percent of precincts reporting. Incumbent Ald. Danny Solis (25th) appeared to edging past his opponents, with nearly 51 percent of the vote with all precincts counted.

While some West Side aldermen allied with Emanuel fared well — including Zalewski, Maldonado and Burnett — the two women apparently struggled to connect with voters.

A pro-Emanuel super PAC contributed more than $70,000 to Graham’s campaign, records show.

The same super PAC gave Mitts more than $42,000.

But in the 37th Ward, which represents West Garfield Park, West Humboldt Park and Austin, Stamps believes the alliance with the mayor hurt Mitts.

Stamps, meanwhile, got significant support from the Chicago Teachers Union, which contributed $52,000 to Stamps campaign, records show.

For Graham, in the 29th Ward, which traditionally represented the Austin neighborhood,a redrawn map means it also now includes Galewood and parts of Montclare, Belmont Heights and West Garfield Park. A crowd of new residents, including Taliaferro, who became part of the ward because of the remap, took on incumbent Graham.

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