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Four South Side aldermen likely headed for April runoff

Ald. Leslie Hairston, left, chats with Monique Smith after casting her ballot at O'Keeffe Elementary School, 6940 S. Merrill Tuesday morning. | Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun Times

Four South Side incumbents were having a tough night Tuesday, with two definitely facing a runoff while two others will likely have to stave off challengers in the April 2 runoff.

Sixteenth Ward Ald. Toni L. Foulkes received 31 percent of the vote with 97 percent of precincts reporting, trailing Stephanie D. Coleman who garnered 44 percent of the vote. She needed at least 50.1 percent of the vote Tuesday to win outright.

In the 15th Ward, Ald. Raymond A. Lopez received about 49 percent of the vote with 100 percent of precincts reporting. And in the 5th Ward,  Ald. Leslie A Hairston also had 49 percent of the vote with 98 percent of the precincts reporting.

Ald. Howard B. Brookins Jr. (21st) received about 45 percent of the vote with about 80 percent of precincts reporting, with Marvin McNeil coming in second with 25 percent of the vote.

In the 20th Ward, where nine candidates sought to replace indicted Ald. Willie Cochran, community organizer Jeanette B. Taylor had pulled ahead, garnering about 29 percent of the vote with roughly 97 percent of the precincts reporting. Nicole J. Johnson, a third grade math teacher, had about 22 percent of the vote.

In the 5th Ward, community activist William Calloway was coming in second with 27 percent of the vote, edging out Gabriel Piemonte who had 24 percent. In a late night flip flop, Calloway surged ahead of Piemonte, a Woodlawn resident and former editor of the Hyde Park Herald.

Calloway said he was waiting for the last three precincts to come in and then “we’ll take it from there.”
“It really speaks to what our campaign has been championing these last few months,” Calloway said. “The division between Hyde Park and South Shore has to come to an end, and we have to make sure we have a public safety plan … 20 years is far too long to be in office. More people are saying ‘no’ to [Hairston], and if I’m in the runoff, I hope to have [Piemonte’s} support.”

Before she knew she would be facing a runoff, Hairston said, “I get up tomorrow and start working again, working harder. That’s exactly what I’ll do … I’ve always been a hard worker.”

“I got the knowledge, the drive and the determination,” she said. “I make things happen when everybody says it can’t happen. I’ve done that with the Starbucks and the grocery store, I’ve done that with the Stony Island Arts Bank … I’ve done that with almost every project I have to do.”

In the 15th Ward, Rafael “Rafa” Yanez, who will face Lopez into a runoff, said, “We’ve been able to change the narrative and pressuring the incumbent to support our working families.

“We are going to continue to organize and make the necessary phone calls and build the relationships we need to win this race,” Yanez said. “We feel very confident that on April 2 we will win.”

In the 20th Ward, Taylor, who was maintaining a lead in the nine-candidate race, said she looks forward to earning “the support of the many who have been left behind by politics as usual.”

“I am honored that the people of the 20th Ward have chosen to break with a political past characterized by corruption and inequality,” Taylor said in a statement. “I have always served our community with conviction and integrity, from joining my son’s local school council at the age of 19 to leading a month-long hunger strike to save Dyett High School, I have dedicated my life to making change.”

While it was a close night for some aldermen, other South Side incumbents sailed to victory Tuesday night.

Tenth Ward Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza garnered 69 percent of the vote with about 97 percent of precincts reporting.

In the 7th Ward, Ald. Gregory Mitchell received 66 percent of the vote with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

Eighth Ward Ald. Michelle A. Harris received 64 percent of the vote with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

In the 17th Ward, Ald. David H. Moore, drew about 68 percent of the vote with roughly 66 percent of precincts reporting.

In the 34th Ward, Ald. Carrie M. Austin drew 54 percent of the vote with 96 percent of precincts reporting.

Ninth Ward Ald. Anthony A. Beale received roughly 59 percent of the vote with 98 percent of precincts reporting.

Manny Ramos is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.