Villegas, Monique Scott win ward races as Taliaferro struggles to hold onto 29th Ward seat

Meanwhile in the 24th Ward, Monique Scott declared victory Tuesday night less than a year after she was appointed to the role after her brother stepped down from the City Council.

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Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) poses for a portrait after an interview on the west side, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) is in a runoff race against candidate Lori Torres Whitt. I Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) poses for a portrait after an interview on the west side, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) is in a runoff race against candidate Lori Torres Whitt. I Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Complete coverage of the local and national primary and general election, including results, analysis and voter resources to keep Chicago voters informed.

Ald. Gilbert “Gil” Villegas (36th) and Ald. Monique Scott (24th) cruised into another term Tuesday night as Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) remained in a heated race with a community activist vying to lead the West Side ward.

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“Drinks on me,” Villegas told a crowd of supporters gathered at Barcocina in West Town. Villegas secured 58% of the votes with 100% of the precincts reporting. Challenger Lori Torres Whitt, who was backed by the Chicago Teachers Union, received 42% of the votes. Whitt, a teacher at Monroe Elementary School, conceded shortly after 9 p.m.

“We are disappointed tonight, but we will keep working tomorrow,” she said in a statement. “This isn’t the end.”

Villegas, the chairman of the chamber’s Latino Caucus, sought his third term in the oddly drawn 36th Ward that has been described as a “snake” and “pool noddle.”

36th ward runoff candidate Lori Torres Whitt poses for a portrait after an interview on the west side, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. I Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

36th ward runoff candidate Lori Torres Whitt poses for a portrait after an interview on the west side, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. I Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The 36th Ward cuts through more than a handful of West Side communities including West Town, Humboldt Park, Belmont Cragin and Dunning.

At Villegas’ Election Night party, the crowd started doing toasts as early results showed him in a comfortable lead.

“What I want to do, is continue to serve the community as I’ve done, putting constituent services at the forefront, making sure we’re funding the police but also investing in under-invested communities,” Villegas said.

The alderman said he planned to continue his work on the City Council as an independent. He said he sees his role as a “check on the executive branch.”

29th Ward

Meanwhile, Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) sought to hold onto his City Council seat after write-in votes forced him into a run-off with CB Johnson, who has worked on substance abuse issues with the nonprofit Campaign for a Drug-Free West Side.

Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) during a campaign walk near 5000 W. Van Buren St. in Austin, Tuesday, March 21, 2023. I Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) during a campaign walk near 5000 W. Van Buren St. in Austin, Tuesday, March 21, 2023. I Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The race was too close to call, but both candidates expressed optimism. Taliaferro received nearly 51% of the votes with 96% of precincts reporting. Johnson garnered about 49% of votes. There were 1,114 outstanding mail-in ballots.

Taliaferro, who was first elected in 2015, said he thought the mail-in ballots would break his way. Still, he said the heated race could change his leadership approach.

“I will have to listen to my residents and look at a different style of leadership to reach those voters who did not support me,” Taliaferro said. He spent the night with his family at the 29th Ward office.

About a block away, Johnson said he felt “confident” he would be victorious.

“This community is in crisis and we all want change,” he told a crowd gathered at his campaign office.

Nearby, a bag of balloons was tied to the ceiling for a possible celebration later.

Johnson was flanked by U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., who was also optimistic.

“If I were James Brown, I would say I feel good,” Davis said, emphasizing the word “feel.”

CB Johnson, 29th Ward aldermanic candidate, stands in front of the Austin Green Line station while campaigning for his runoff election against Ald. Chris Taliaferro, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. | Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

CB Johnson, 29th Ward aldermanic candidate, stands in front of the Austin Green Line station while campaigning for his runoff election against Ald. Chris Taliaferro, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. | Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The 29th Ward includes West Side neighborhoods including Austin, Montclare and Galewood.

24th Ward

Ald. Monique Scott (24th) declared victory Tuesday night, less than a year after she was appointed to the role after her brother stepped down from the City Council.

24th Ward incumbent candidate Ald. Monique Scott (24th) stands outside of her ward office on the West Side, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. | Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

24th Ward incumbent candidate Ald. Monique Scott (24th) stands outside of her ward office on the West Side, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. | Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Monique Scott secured nearly 67% of the votes with 95% of the precincts reporting. Creative Scott, a small-business owner, received about 33% of the votes. By 10:30 p.m., Creative Scott’s campaign confirmed he conceded.

In North Lawndale, Monique Scott supporters gathered at Soulé and sipped on drinks named “Mo’ for the Win” and “The Alderwoman” while awaiting results. A neon sign stating “Believe in yourself,” overlooked the crowd that listened to pop hits like “Love on Top” by Beyoncé.

For Monique Scott, early results in her favor was the affirmation she needed that the community was backing her not just because her brother, Michael Scott Jr., once led the ward.

“No one can say this is nepotism,” Monique Scott said to the crowd as she declared victory.

She said the restaurant where the crowd gathered was significant to the progress the West Side community is making, adding that she plans to tackle issues such as “economic development, housing, education, food deserts, health disparities.”

Creative Scott, who is running for alderman of the 24th Ward, poses after voting on Election Day at Penn Elementary School in the Lawndale neighborhood, Tuesday, April 4, 2023. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Creative Scott, who is running for alderman of the 24th Ward, poses after voting on Election Day at Penn Elementary School in the Lawndale neighborhood, Tuesday, April 4, 2023. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The 24th Ward includes Lawndale, Little Village and Austin.

Elvia Malagón’s reporting on social justice and income inequality is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.

Michael Loria is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South Side and West Side.

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