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Incumbent aldermen tossed out


Last Modified: Sep 24, 2012 06:25AM

After nearly four decades on the Chicago City Council, Ald. Bernard Stone (50th) turned trendsetter Tuesday night.

The 83-year-old led the trend of Chicago aldermen losing their jobs.

Voters tossed out Stone and three other incumbent aldermen — two veterans, Stone and the 6th Ward’s Freddrenna Lyle, and two newbies, John Rice (36th) and Sharon Denise Dixon (24th). The four in total had more than 50 years experience on the Council.

His eyes wet, Stone, leaning on a cane Tuesday night at his ward headquarters, found himself in a unique position since he joined the Council in 1973.

“I’m up against the machine,” Stone said of his race against accountant Debra Silverstein. Silverstein was backed by Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and her husband, state Sen. Ira Silverstein, who is also the 50th Ward Democratic committeeman.

“I used to be the machine,” Stone said.

Emanuel began making calls Tuesday night to all the newly elected aldermen, starting with Silverstein.

In all, there were 14 run-offs for aldermanic spots in wards across the city.

On the South Side, Lyle, on the Council since 1998, conceded defeat in her tight 6th Ward race against attorney Roderick T. Sawyer, the son of late Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer, who once held the 6th Ward seat himself.

On the Northwest Side, the ultimate outsider, Chicago firefighter Nicholas Sposato took on the ultimate insider, incumbent Ald. John A. Rice, and won in convincing fashion. Rice was the former top aide and driver to longtime 36th Ward powerhouse Ald. William J.P. Banks. Rice was appointed to Banks’ seat in 2009 but faced a backlash of voter sentiment in the ward over development. The Banks’ political organization had held power in the ward since 1983.

In the 24th Ward, Dixon lost to the man she won the job from in 2007. In a rematch of that tough election battle, former Ald. Michael Chandler handily beat Dixon, with more than 60 percent of the vote.

While Chandler will be a familiar face returning face to the City Council, others will be new. Five new aldermen were elected in February, and another seven newcomers were elected Tuesday. An additional five aldermen appointed by Mayor Daley won their first elections this year.

In four North Side wards, residents were getting new aldermen to replace retiring incumbents.

In the 41st Ward, where the Council’s lone Republican alderman, Brian Doherty, reigned for two decades, a Democrat was heading to victory. Deli and banquet hall manager Mary O’Connor, who is the ward’s Democratic committeeman, held a commanding lead over Maurita Gavin, Doherty’s top aide.

In the 43rd Ward, home to Lincoln Park, former federal prosecutor Michele Smith, the ward committeeman, was running with a slight lead over health care executive Tim Egan. Smith garnered 51.1 percent of the vote with more than 98 percent of the precincts reporting.

On the Far Northwest Side, in the 45th Ward, John Arena, who owns a graphic design company, appeared to beat John Garrido, a police lieutenant, lawyer and Republican, by 29 votes, out of more than 12,000 votes cast, according to unofficial vote totals.

In the 46th Ward race to replace retiring Uptown Ald. Helen Shiller, social worker James Cappleman held a commanding lead over property tax attorney Mary Anne “Molly” Phelan. The two had a hard fought February election, with only five votes separating them, among the top two positions.

Other aldermen held onto their jobs handily.

In the 38th Ward, appointed Ald. Tim Cullerton used his huge financial advantage to pummel his opponent, Tom Caravette, as a slumlord — a charge Caravette denied, Cullerton coasted to an easy victory, getting more than 60 percent of the vote, for the seat historically held by his family.

Ald. Toni Foulkes and Ald. JoAnn Thompson kept their jobs in the 15th and 16th Wards with strong performances in the race.

Ald. Latasha Thomas appeared headed to victory over her former supporter, David Moore, in the 17th Ward.

In the 20th Ward, Ald. Willie Cochran, a retired Chicago police officer, withstood the popularity of colorful rap artist Che “Rhymefest” Smith, and kept his seat.

In the 25th Ward, Ald. Danny Solis, a City Council veteran. trumped community activist Cuahutemoc Morfin.


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