The polls closed days ago, but that didn’t end the drama in two aldermanic contests.
The 33rd and 46th ward races remain nailbiters that could be decided by mail-in ballots trickling in over the next 12 days.
In the North Side’s 46th Ward, Ald. James Cappleman has a 40-vote lead over challenger Marianne Lalonde. Cappleman, seeking his third term, was up by 23 votes Tuesday night, but picked up a few more since then.
Just 68 votes separate Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez and Ald. Deb Mell in the Northwest Side’s 33rd Ward as of Thursday afternoon. Rodriguez-Sanchez was in the lead according to figures from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. Rodriguez-Sanchez picked up four votes in the last few days.
Jim Allen, board spokesman, has seen closer races in the past — in the Northwest Side’s 45th Ward, the candidates were separated by 30 votes in 2011, and four years ago in the 10th Ward on the Southeast Side, Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza won by just 20 votes.
“We’re following the same procedure we followed in February as we have in every election in the past 15 years,” Allen said. “What candidates do or don’t do in terms of claiming victory or making concession speeches has no bearing on what we’re required to do by law.”
Rodriguez Sanchez said she’s enjoying the moment and is “proud and humbled and grateful” to have the support of many in the community.
“I’m happy we’re in the lead, it puts us in a more comfortable position,” Rodriguez Sanchez said. “Last time around mail-ins favored us so if that tendency continues I think there’s a good chance of us ending up with the win, but for now we’re patiently waiting.”
Lalonde says her campaign will follow the board’s process and wait until every vote has been counted. She also believes that there will be more information Friday.
“I was expecting it to be close, but this was a little closer than I was expecting,” Lalonde said Thursday. “It’s an honor to have the support of almost 7,000 of my neighbors. This race has really highlighted a dichotomy that exists in the 46th Ward.”
Tressa Feher, Cappleman’s chief of staff, said the alderman’s campaign is feeling good.
“We continue to get more and more votes the more ballots are counted,” Feher said.
“We’ve been through enough elections and reporting from the Board [of Election Commissioners] that we know things go back and forth. They’re normal election night nerves,” Feher said.
Though the races in the 33rd and 46th Wards were the closest runoff contests on Tuesday’s ballot, they aren’t the only races separated by slim margins.
In the South Side’s 5th Ward, Ald. Leslie Hairston was just 151 votes ahead of community activist William Calloway, and in the Northwest Side’s 30th Ward, Ald. Ariel Reboyras beat Jessica Gutierrez, daughter of former U.S. Rep Luis Gutierrez, by 296 votes. Both of those incumbents are likely safe. Their challengers would need a lot of mail-in votes to offset those leads.
But the board is required by law to keep counting until April 16 any ballots that were postmarked by Election Day.
Allen says the final tally will be released April 18.
The swearing-in ceremony for all city officials elected Tuesday is May 20.