Two aldermanic allies of powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan won’t face any splashback from #MeToo scandals that lapped at his feet in Springfield, appearing to coast to easy victories Tuesday night in two key Southwest Side wards.
Marty Quinn, Madigan’s office mate in the 13th Ward and mastermind of legislative races, held a commanding 86 percent to 14 percent lead over 19-year-old DePaul University student David Krupa, with 93 percent of precincts counted.
And Silvana Tabares, who was plucked from a state rep seat in May to replace retiring Madigan ally Michael Zalewski in the 23rd Ward, held onto a three-to-one lead over private detective Paulino Villareal Jr. with 97 percent of precincts counted.
Two other Southwest Side wards in need of new aldermen after their incumbents were scarred by scandals saw crowds of challengers.
Ald. Ricardo Munoz, forced into retirement after his wife accused him of physically abusing her, will be replaced in the 22nd Ward encompassing Little Village and North Lawndale by Democratic committeeman Michael D. Rodriguez, who took 64 percent with all precincts counted. The other three challengers, nonprofit organizer Lisette “Liz” Lopez had 14 percent, health center administrator Richard Juarez had 12 percent, and Neftalie Gonzalez, a former police officer and small business owner, had about 10 percent.
But the 25th Ward, held by Ald. Danny Solis, who announced he wouldn’t seek re-election months before it was revealed that he wore a wire in a criminal investigation into Chicago’s longest-serving Ald. Ed Burke (14th), is headed to a runoff, likely, between Byron Sigcho-Lopez and Alexander Acevedo that already is tainted by accusations of vote-buying.
With all precincts reporting, Sigcho-Lopez, an instructor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, finished with 29 percent and Acevedo, a pediatric nurse, 22 percent.
Community organizer and former teacher Hilario Dominguez had 21 percent, former principal and leadership consultant Aida Flores had 19 percent and statistician Troy Antonio Hernandez had 8 percent.
Tuesday evening, the Illinois attorney general’s office confirmed they sent two attorneys to a polling place at 1354 S. Morgan St. late Tuesday to look into reports by the poll-watching Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights that supporters for Sigcho-Lopez were offering gift cards to 25th Ward voters if they punched his ballot number.
Matthew Owens, a field captain volunteering for the Lawyers’ Committee, said that poll watchers for the group also made reports to the Board of Election Commissioners of Chicago and the Cook County state’s attorney after speaking with voters who said they were offered the gift cards throughout the day at that polling place inside the B.J. Wright Court apartments in exchange for voting for Sigcho-Lopez.
Zoe Chan, a spokeswoman for Sigcho-Lopez’s campaign, said she was still gathering facts but had spoken with a precinct captain at the location.
“We take very seriously any allegations of this nature,” Chan said. “We are committed to conducting a rigorous investigation into it. Should we uncover anything in our investigation that would seem to contravene some kind of election law, we would be the first to contact the authorities.”
The Chicago Board of Elections also sent an investigator to the polling place at 1354 S. Morgan St. and contacted the Illinois attorney general’s office based on what they learned.
In the 12th Ward, Ald. George Cardenas barely dodged a runoff with less than one percent of the vote once all precincts were counted, with just 50.32 percent. Cardenas, who was tainted by apparent conflicts of interest though he has not been accused of any crime, held out against union organizer Pete DeMay and former teacher Jose Rico, who each finished with 982 votes, or 17 percent of the vote. Martha Yerania Rangel finished with 15 percent.
DeMay refused on Twitter to concede, writing, “This election is too close to call. We can’t concede a race where there are violations of election law to resolve and an act of gun violence” at a MKP polling place. “La lucha continua.”
Other incumbents looked to easily hold onto their jobs.
In the 11th Ward, encompassing Bridgeport, Patrick Daley Thompson was leading in his bid to win a second term against assisted living aide David Milhalfy, 74 percent to 26 percent, with 97 percent of precincts reporting.
With 67 percent of the vote in the 18th Ward, covering Ashburn and Auburn Gresham, Ald. Derrick G. Curtis was leading against Chuks Onyezia, a patent attorney with the U.S. Department of Commerce he’s beaten twice before, with 96 percent of precincts reporting.
And in the Far Southwest Side 19th Ward, Ald. Matt O’Shea had 85 percent of the vote with 96 percent of precincts counted, appearing to defeat financial adviser David A. Dewar.