With Mayor Rahm Emanuel headed to a runoff after Tuesday’s city election, two North Side incumbent aldermen who had strong backing from a pro-Emanuel super PAC also will join the mayor in being back on the campaign trail.
Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), of Lincoln Park, and James Cappleman (46th), whose ward includes Uptown and parts of Lake View, fell short of the 50 percent margin they needed to avoid runoffs, according to city election counts.
Smith will now prepare for an April 7 showdown with lawyer Caroline Vickrey, who capitalized on neighborhood controversy over Smith-backed redevelopment plans for the former Children’s Memorial Hospital site, as well as ethical questions about an $80,000 a year side job that Smith holds.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Smith led Vickrey 42 percent to 36 percent, with the other two candidates, Jen Kramer and Jerry Quandt, together pulling in about 22 percent.
“We’re so thrilled. It’s exactly what we hoped and better than we expected,” said Vickrey, who expected to pull in about 30 percent of the vote.
Smith got nearly $50,000 in support from the pro-Emanuel Chicago Forward super PAC, ranking her No. 5 on the list of candidates that the group supported. Still, Vickrey believes she can overcome the fact that Emanuel has backed her opponent to date.
“Money — and even the mayor — don’t buy you love,” Vickrey said. “People here are smart and they know better.”
Cappleman got nearly $60,000 in support from Chicago Forward. But with all precincts reporting in his three-way race, he led challenger Amy Crawford (like Vickrey, a lawyer) 47 percent to 38 percent, also putting him in a runoff.
In another blow to the mayor, Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) — one of Emanuel’s most vocal opponents in the City Council — rode strong support from the Chicago Teachers Union and the Service Employees International Union Illinois Council PAC to win a third term.
The news wasn’t all bad for the mayor, though.Emanuel-backed incumbent Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), whose ward includes Wrigley Field, cruised to another term. So did Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th), Ald. Joe Moore (49th) and Ald. Patrick O’Connor (40th).
On the Near Northwest Side, incumbent Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1st) narrowly avoided a runoff, notching 51 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting.