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What’s at stake in five closely contested races for alderman

The mayor’s race isn’t the only circus in town. On February 24 voters will also choose their aldermen for the first time since all 50 wards were redrawn in 2012—though we’re pretty sure we know the outcome in six wards where incumbents are running unopposed.

Aldermen have a significant impact on neighborhood development and service delivery. But each of these elections also matters beyond its ward boundaries, because the City Council has the power to slow or alter the mayor’s agenda. Hey, don’t laugh — just because it hasn’t happened in decades doesn’t mean it can’t.

Here’s a look at five closely contested races that illustrate the mix of neighborhood issues, citywide policies, and dirty politics that make up what can only be called aldermania. To make matters even more interesting, some of these races probably won’t be decided next week: if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers go head to head in a runoff on April 7.