Manaa-Hoppenworth makes City Council history in 48th Ward runoff as Dunne concedes

When she’s sworn in next month, Manaa-Hoppenworth will join 11th Ward Ald. Nicole Lee as the only Asian Americans on the Council. “I’m just thinking of my dad — never in his wildest dreams would he have imagined we’d get here,” Manaa-Hoppenworth told the Sun-Times earlier this week.

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Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, a local business owner and political organizer, celebrates at an election night party at Furama restaurant in Uptown.

Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, a local business owner and political organizer, celebrates at an election night party at Furama restaurant in Uptown.

Victor Hilitski/For the Sun-Times

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Progressive community organizer Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth clinched her bid to make history as Chicago’s first Filipino American City Council member on Friday as her opponent conceded defeat in their 48th Ward runoff.

Manaa-Hoppenworth had declared victory at her election night party in Uptown, but rival Joe Dunne declined to give up. He did so Friday, trailing by 722 votes by the end of the day with more than 1,189 outstanding mail ballots.

Dunne, who had been endorsed by retiring 48th Ward Ald. Harry Osterman and other establishment Democrats, issued a statement Friday saying the latest ballot tally “made it apparent that the outcome of the race will be in her favor.”

When she’s sworn in next month, Manaa-Hoppenworth will join 11th Ward Ald. Nicole Lee as the only Asian Americans on the Council, with Manaa-Hoppenworth following Lee as the second-ever woman of Asian descent in the legislative body.

“I’m very excited to represent the Asian Americans in the 48th Ward and across the city,” Manaa-Hoppenworth told the Sun-Times Tuesday. “I’m just thinking of my dad — never in his wildest dreams would he have imagined we’d get here.”

Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, a local business owner and political organizer, takes a selfie with her supporters and volunteers at Furama restaurant in Uptown Tuesday night.

Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, a local business owner and political organizer, takes a selfie with her supporters and volunteers at Furama restaurant in Uptown Tuesday night.

Victor Hilitski/For the Sun-Times

Manaa-Hoppenworth joins a far-left infusion to City Hall led by Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson, who endorsed her campaign. By electing more progressive candidates, “voters said they are tired of doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results,” according to Manaa-Hoppenworth.

“The voters told me at every door I knocked on that they wanted to make sure everybody had what they needed, housing first and foremost. To stop normalizing poverty, to make sure people get the health care they need,” Manaa-Hoppenworth said on election night. “We can do that with a more progressive City Council and mayor.”

Manaa-Hoppenworth’s victory means that at least 18 women will be sworn into the City Council next month, an increase of three since 2019 that will match the high set in 2007.

With that North Side race wrapped up, the number of Council runoffs that remained too close to call dropped to five on Friday with thousands of ballots that could still arrive to be counted by April 18.

In the 30th Ward on the Northwest Side, Roosevelt University administrator Ruth Cruz has declared victory over Jessica Gutiérrez, the daughter of former U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, who has not conceded. As of Thursday night, Gutiérrez trailed by 273 votes with up to 742 mail ballots that could still be counted.

30th Ward candidate Ruth Cruz at her campaign office on the Northwest Side in February.

30th Ward candidate Ruth Cruz at her campaign office on the Northwest Side in February.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

In the 21st Ward on the South Side, organizer Ronnie Mosley has declared victory over retired firefighter Cornell Dantzler, who wasn’t giving up, either. Dantzler trailed by 602 votes with 958 outstanding mail ballots.

In the 5th Ward, organizer Desmon Yancy led attorney Tina Hone by 395 votes with 920 outstanding mail ballots.

On the West Side, incumbent Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) led activist CB Johnson by 294 votes with 643 outstanding mail ballots.

And in Lincoln Park’s 43rd Ward, appointed incumbent Ald. Timmy Knudsen, who has celebrated his “apparent victory” without declaring it, held a 766-vote lead over Sheffield Neighborhood Association President Brian Comer with 1,555 outstanding ballots.

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