BACK OF THE YARDS — In a contentious rematch, Ald. Raymond Lopez won a second term in the 15th Ward against Chicago Police officer Rafael “Rafa” Yañez.
With all precincts reporting, Lopez won 59.5 percent of the vote, according to the Chicago Board of Elections. Yañez received 40.8 percent of the vote.
A victorious Lopez said a message was sent loud and clear by voters who were focused on the successes of the freshman alderman’s first four years in office.
“As I see it tonight, the people have spoken. … And now I challenge, all of those who have made their voices heard —whether it was for me or Rafa — to join me in working together to build the communities we claim to love. … I’m official extending my hand to anyone who wants to make our neighborhoods better”
Lopez said he plans to focus on cutting the employment rate in his communities by half and to create more jobs.
On Feb. 26, Lopez failed to get 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff. In a five-way race, Lopez captured 49.7 percent of the vote while Yañez received 21.83 percent.
Community organizer Berto Aguayo received 16.29 percent of the vote, violence interrupter Joseph Williams garnered 8 percent and Director of New City Wholistic Community Development Otis Davis Jr. captured 4.1 percent.
Following the election, Lopez criticized his opponents for running “ugly campaigns.”
Community organizer Ja’Mal Green lodged similar complaints against the incumbent for political fliers and intimidation tactics.
Ahead of the runoff, Lopez, who was elected in 2015, told Block Club Chicago he planned on building on the public safety work and foundation set in his first term to end gang violence. He also looked to continue his work to bring more investment and resources to the 15th Ward.
Yañez, a police officer for 15 years and community leader, looked to bring more resources for schools, social service and small businesses to the ward while advocating for reforms to the Chicago Police Department.
Lopez is the Democratic Ward committeeman of the ward and was a skycap for Southwest Airlines before being elected in 2015.
Check out our full election guide at Chi.Vote for more info on the candidates in this and other ward races.
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