Sawyer ousts Ald. Lyle; Cochran beating rapper
By MARK KONKOL AND LISA DONOVAN Staff Reporters April 5, 2011 10:02PM
6Th Ward Alderman Freddrenna M. Lyle signs in to vote with republican election judge Gwendolyn McCloud Tuesday evening at her polling place Park Manor Church. April 5, 2011 | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: July 21, 2011 12:20AM
The son of late Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer on Tuesday ousted his father’s protégé, longtime Ald. Freddrenna Lyle, from her 6th Ward seat after 13 years in office.
Roderick Sawyer picked up 50.6 percent of the vote in the showdown with Lyle, who received 49.4 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting, according to unofficial vote totals.
Voters in the 20th Ward didn’t give Grammy winner Che “Rhymefest” Smith the chance to bust a victory rap on Tuesday.
Ald. Willie Cochran got 54 percent of the vote and held an 8-percentage point lead over Smith with all but one precinct reporting.
Late into the evening, Smith did not comment on the results, and his camp would not concede defeat.
“This election will not be decided tonight,” Smith spokeswoman Kitty Kurth said.
Kurth said she believes there were voting irregularities at some precincts, and said Smith planned to lay the groundwork late Tuesday for a possible recount.
During the campaign, Cochran, a former Chicago Police officer, criticized his rapper opponent’s criminal record and financial woes.
In the end, Cochran had the last rap song of the campaign, a short one off the top of his head.
“We wrapped this victory up in a hip way. We’re gonna hop onto the next four years and deliver the 20th Ward way,” Cochran said in a rhyme that will not win a Grammy. “That’s the best I could do.”
In the 6th Ward, Sawyer declared a bittersweet victory.
“I’m extremely happy, but at the same time sad my father is not here with me,” Sawyer said of the former mayor, who died in 2008 at age 73. “I know he’s watching over us and he’s proud. But now it’s time to start our work. Got a lot of work to do. It won’t be easy.”
Once a Lyle supporter, Sawyer said he decided to run against her because she voted for the city parking meter lease deal. On Tuesday night, Sawyer said his win over Lyle, who was supported by Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, sends a message.
“I’ll work with everyone in the City Council including the mayor, but this sends a message that the 6th Ward will not support a candidate that gets bossed and is controlled by special interests,” he said.
Lyle conceded late Tuesday as supporters and staff milled around her 75th Street aldermanic office.
“We did a yeoman’s job fighting against horrible odds,” she said. “We fought against a bad economy. We fought against major, major cutbacks in city services that we got blamed for personally. We fought against two police officers being tragically murdered in our ward over the last year. And no other incumbent had to fight the crime issue . . . in a quickly changing neighborhood.”
In the 17th Ward, Ald. Latasha Thomas held a 6-percentage-point lead over challenger David Moore.
Thomas had 53 percent of the vote in the head-to-head contest against Moore, who received 47 percent with all but one precinct reporting.
“I’m not ready to call it yet, but I’m extremely proud of the process and the way it is going and the opportunity to serve another term,” Thomas said. “But I’m still waiting.”
Moore, who works for the Cook County Board of Review, attacked Thomas during the campaign for voting too often with Mayor Daley, including her vote on the parking meter lease. But Thomas touted her work bringing three new grocery stores to the ward, which includes Auburn-Gresham and parts of Englewood.