Progressive challengers ousted one longtime North Side alderman in a landslide on Tuesday and forced another — one of the most powerful in City Hall — into one of his first-ever run-off races.
Incumbent Ald. Joe Moore (49th) conceded a little after 9 p.m., trailing challenger Maria Hadden by nearly 30 percentage points with 94 percent of precincts reporting.
And by the end of the night, Ald. Pat O’Connor — Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s floor leader who is vying for his 10th term — led the 40th Ward with just over 33 percent of the vote. Andre Vasquez emerged from a field of four challengers with about 20 percent of the vote.
The stunning slap to O’Connor comes less than two months after he succeeded beleaguered Ald. Ed Burke (14th) as Finance Committee chairman, the most powerful City Council leadership post.
Candidates could only win outright on Tuesday if they received a majority of the vote. In wards where no candidate gets a majority, the top two square off in an April runoff.
Moore held his Rogers Park seat for nearly three decades, since 1991 when he ousted an appointee of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley who had taken the seat vacated by Moore’s political mentor, David Orr.
Moore regularly butted heads with Daley on a progressive platform, pushing for a living-wage ordinance for big-box retail workers and implementing America’s first participatory budget program, giving ward residents a direct say in local improvement projects.
But over six re-election cycles, Moore’s progressive base diminished as he garnered a reputation as a reliable vote for Daley and later Emanuel.
That came to a head this year, with the longtime Cook County Clerk Orr throwing his support behind his former protege’s challenger Hadden, a non-profit executive and first-time candidate.
Moore touted his work as a champion of development projects in Rogers Park and West Ridge, while Hadden trumped her progressive cred with work at numerous community service groups.
Thrilled supporters hugged and snapped photos at the Mayne Stage theater as Hadden said she wanted to “fill the gaps” in Moore’s record.
“I’m humbled for the opportunity to serve the 49th Ward,” she said. “And I look forward to being the independent progressive voice that they elected me to be.”
Moore conceded a little after 9 p.m. in front of a few dozen supporters at a soul food restaurant.
“I feel grateful that I’ve had 28 wonderful years doing a job I’ve loved,” the outgoing 60-year-old alderman said, promising to help Hadden in transition.
O’Connor’s 36 years in the City Council are second only to Burke, whose powerful Finance Committee chair O’Connor assumed after Burke was hit with federal corruption charges last month.
As Emanuel’s floor leader, O’Connor faced an onslaught of progressive challengers who largely tried to paint him as a rubber-stamp vote from the old guard of machine politics.
Vasquez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, topped three other progressive challengers.
“People wanted change, and they trusted us to move that forward,” said Vasquez, a manager for AT&T who was just three years old when O’Connor first took office in 1983. “Our neighbors in the 40th recognized that it’s time for transition.”
O’Connor — who openly mulled retirement last year — did not hold an open election night party, and his campaign manager did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday night.
The incumbent fared better in the 44th Ward, where Ald. Tom Tunney cruised to a fifth term despite pushback from the billionaire Ricketts family, who own the Cubs.
With all but one precinct reporting, Tunney led with about 64 percent of the vote, over challengers Austin Baidas at 26 percent, and Elizabeth Shydlowski at 11 percent.
The Ricketts dug deep into their coffers in an effort to oust the city’s first openly gay alderman by painting him as a roadblock to Wrigleyville development.
Two other North Side incumbents will face runoffs, as Ald. Michele Smith had about 39 percent of the vote over closest challenger Derek Lindblom’s 28 percent with 96 percent of precincts reporting; and 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman had about 44 percent of the vote over closest challenger Marianne Lalonde’s 18 percent, with 95 percent of precincts reporting.
The nine-way race to replace outgoing Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) was narrowed to a two-man contest as civil rights attorney Matt Martin finished the night with 39 percent of the vote and former Emanuel policy director Michael Negron stood at 21 percent.
Harry Osterman cruised to re-election with 84 percent of the vote with just one precinct remaining in the 48th Ward; as did Debra Silverstein (50th), who closed the night with 65 percent of the vote.
Contributing: Maddie Burakoff