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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

La Spata Declares Victory Over Proco ‘Joe’ Moreno In 1st Ward Upset

Controversy was a thorn in Moreno's side this election season.

Daniel La Spata declared victory in the 1st Ward race Tuesday night against incumbent Ald. Joe Moreno.
Mina Bloom/ Block Club Chicago
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WICKER PARK — Political newcomer Daniel La Spata declared victory in the race for 1st Ward alderman, unseating incumbent Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno.

With 89 percent of precincts reporting, challenger La Spata took 60.5 percent of the vote to Moreno’s 39.5 percent, according to Chicago Board of Election results.

Celebrating at The Radler, La Spata supporters sang “Happy Birthday” to him as he turns 38 years old today.

To huge applause, La Spata told supporters “the Chicago machine” is “crumbling against a progressive wave that is sweeping.”

“I think about how many times I came to peoples’ doors and talked about the follies of the 1st Ward — the fact that we trade zoning changes for campaign contributions, the fact that gentrification can be seen as something organic and natural, just as something that happens. That’s not right. The way that our schools are left to rot and are ignored. That’s not right,” La Spata said. “People would say … politicians only come up four years, and then you don’t see them for another four years. And that’s not right.”

He continued, “When we come together, when we break bread together, when we find our common interests, we can build the ward and the city we all deserve to live in.”

Credit: Alisa Hauser/ Block Club Chicago
Daniel La Spata (right) declared victory against Ald. Joe Moreno (left) in the 1st Ward race.

Moreno, who was first appointed to the seat in 2010, narrowly avoided a runoff against three challengers in 2015.

Controversy was a thorn in Moreno’s side this election season as the alderman weathered one scandal after another:

During the campaign, La Spata — a Logan Square Neighborhood Association community organizer with a master’s degree in urban planning and public policy — pressed Moreno on these scandals in addition to questioning his relationship with developers in the gentrifying ward.

Many of the area’s developers — and zoning lawyers and architectural firms — who sought and later got zoning approval to build in the 1st Ward gave money to Moreno’s campaign, a Feb. 5 Block Club Chicago analysis found.

Moreno raised a total of $653,889 in campaign donations, more than eight times the $74,725 raised by his challenger.

The 1st Ward includes all or parts of Logan Square, Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, Humboldt Park and West Town.

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