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Longtime Aldermen Thrown Out In Upsets, Many Others Headed To Runoffs

Ald. Ed Burke is still in despite facing federal charges, but three incumbent aldermen lost outright.

Chicagoans vote on Feb. 26, 2019.
Mauricio Peña/Block Club Chicago
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DOWNTOWN — Election Day proved to be full of major upsets throughout the city as three aldermen were toppled and more are headed to runoffs.

Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), Ald. John Arena (45th) and Ald. Joe Moore (49th) lost their seats outright. But despite facing federal corruption charges, Ald. Ed Burke managed to win in the 14th Ward.

Meanwhile, while the April 2 mayoral runoff between Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and former Police Board President Lori Lightfoot will be the headliner, plenty of aldermanic races will also have runoffs.

Among the incumbents likely forced into runoffs: Leslie Hairston (5th), Raymond Lopez (15th), Deb Mell (33rd), Ariel Reboyras (30th), Milly Santiago (31s), Pat O’Connor (40th), Michele Smith (43rd) and James Cappleman (46th).

Election Day also saw low turnout despite higher-than-normal early voting turnout.

Here’s a recap of the biggest stories of the night:

Lightfoot, Preckwinkle to face off in runoff election

Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle picked up the most votes in the crowded mayoral race, meaning they’re headed to a runoff on April 2. The results mean Chicagoans will vote in the city’s first black woman mayor.

Read more.

Moreno ousted in 1st Ward

Daniel La Spata beat incumbent Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), who weathered controversy again and again throughout this election season.

Read more.

Moore loses in upset to political newcomer in 49th Ward

Longtime Ald. Joe Moore lost the 49th Ward to newcomer Maria Hadden. Moore had been alderman in the ward since 1991 while Hadden garnered strong support from progressive organizers and politicians.

Read more.

Burke holds on despite federal charges

Ald. Ed Burke (14th) is facing federal corruption charges but won outright in his ward, where he’s served as alderman for 50 years.

Read more.

Arena loses in 45th Ward

Jim Gardiner, a Fire Department EMT, beat incumbent Ald. John Arena outright in the 45th Ward.

Read more.

Tunney fends off challengers in 44th Ward

The Ricketts family led efforts to unseat Ald. Tom Tunney in the 44th Ward, but they ultimately failed as the alderman won outright.

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Hairston faces activist Will Calloway in 5th Ward

Longtime Ald. Leslie Hairston appears headed for a runoff against activist William Calloway in the 5th Ward race.

With 38 out of 41 precincts reporting, Hairston had 48.6 percent of the vote, 1.4 percent shy of the 50 percent she need to avoid a runoff. Calloway came in second with 26.9 percent, with Gabriel Piemonte coming in last with 24.3 percent.

Hairston told Block Club Chicago Tuesday night that she isn’t worried. “I’m feeling optimistic. This isn’t my first runoff,” said Hairston from her election night party. “I’ll just have to remind voters of all the work I’ve done, and I think they’ll agree with me. I’m not letting anyone take the credit for my hard work.”

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Multiple wards headed to runoffs

Runoffs are expected in the 5th, 15th, 16th, 20th, 21st, 25th30th31st, 33rd, 39th, 40th43rd46th and 47th wards.