Rough night for incumbent aldermen on the South Side
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Challengers in South Side ward races easily toppled two incumbent aldermen Tuesday and left one more sweating in a runoff race that was too close to call.
Ald. Natashia Holmes (7th) and Ald. Lona Lane (18th) fell behind in early vote totals and never closed the gap. Ald. John Pope (10th) also trailed by a few votes late Tuesday night. But Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) appeared to have survived a close race.
Holmes lost to Greg Mitchell, a former information technology manager at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
“I wish him the best as alderman, to be honest,” Holmes told the Chicago Sun-Times after calling Mitchell to concede. “We fought a long, hard race.”
Mitchell said Tuesday’s result was “hard-earned” and that he’s “looking forward to working with the community.” Mitchell had 56.8 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting, while Holmes had 43.2 percent of the vote.
Holmes, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s pick to replace former Ald. Sandi Jackson, has said she tried to bring trust and accountability back to the 7th Ward after Sandi Jackson’s resignation, but Mitchell argued she failed to reach out to the community.
Meanwhile, Derrick Curtis, a local Streets and Sanitation head, handily beat Lane in the 18th Ward. Lane said she wouldn’t concede until all the votes are counted but added, “I’m very happy with what I’ve accomplished since 2006.”
“I look forward to continuing to help people in our neighborhoods in any way I can,” Lane said as about 50 supporters munched on thin-crust pizza and watched unfavorable poll numbers roll in at Vito and Nick’s at 85th and Pulaski.
Curtis had 67.9 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting, while Lane had 32.1 percent of the vote.
Curtis contended during the campaign he routinely received calls for service from people who couldn’t reach anyone at Lane’s office.
But Lane disputed that during the campaign, saying, “He’s full of it.”
In the 10th Ward, Pope and Susan Sadlowski Garza were down to the wire, separated by only seven votes. Garza had 50.03 percent of the vote, while Pope had 49.97 percent of the vote, with all but one precinct reporting.
Garza did not declare victory Tuesday, turning down offers of cigars from supporters at the Crow Bar in Hegewisch where she spent election night. Meanwhile, a voting machine headed downtown for a final tally.
Garza simply said she was optimistic and that she’d take the one precinct left to count — one where she said her challenger had polled at 38 percent recently.
“It’s not about what I have to say to the voters,” Garza said. “It’s what they’ve said tonight. They want to be represented by someone who listens to them. They’re empowered.”
Finally, in the 21st Ward, Brookins appeared to edge out former city zoning code enforcement inspector Marvin McNeil. Brookins had 50.71 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting, while McNeil had 49.29 percent.
The incumbent’s former chief of staff admitted taking a $7,500 cash bribe from an undercover informant last year in a federal corruption case. Though his plea agreement said the informant allegedly showed Brookins a note that read “$12K to you for letter of support,” Brookins said he doesn’t remember it.
Brookins accused McNeil of racking up several fines and demolition orders on properties he’s owned. McNeil said he planned to fix those properties up but failed to get financing.