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Englewood, Chatham, Auburn Gresham

Stephanie Coleman Defeats Ald. Toni Foulkes In 16th Ward: ‘We Made Herstory’

It was the second straight election that Stephanie Coleman challenged Toni Foulkes in the Southwest Side ward.

Stephanie Coleman declares victory on Tuesday, April 2.
Joe Ward / Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — The second time appears to be the charm for Stephanie Coleman in the 16th Ward.

After barely losing to incumbent Ald. Toni Foulkes in the Southwest Side ward in 2015, Coleman stormed ahead to a commanding lead Tuesday night in the rematch for alderman.

With 86 percent of precincts reporting at 11 p.m., Coleman had 67 percent of the vote, according to the Chicago Board of Elections.

In a night of historic elections, Coleman becomes the youngest black woman elected to the City Council at 30 years old, according to her campaign. She and her mother, Shirley Coleman, also become the first mother-daughter duo to represent the same ward in the city.

“We made herstory,” Coleman said at her victory party at restaurant 5 Estrallas in Gage Park. “We stand on the shoulders of some strong black women.”

Coming from a political family, Coleman had the support of a number of big-name supporters, including Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) and Sen. Martin Sandoval, who were at her victory party.

It’s the second straight election where Foulkes and Coleman squared off in a runoff, with Foulkes narrowly winning in 2015 by 143 votes.

“Wounded, hurt,” Coleman said of the 2015 race. “But I wasn’t weary.”

Foulkes could not be reached for comment. Her campaign did not disclose the location of its watch party. Foulkes also did not submit a candidate questionnaire to WTTM or participate in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times endorsement procedures, according to the newspapers.

Ed Calahan, owner of Calahan Funeral Home, said he supported Coleman because she will be a champion for economic development in the South Side ward. 

“We need someone in the council that will improve our businesses, and now we have that,” Calahan said.

Earlier this year, the two emerged from a crowded, six-way race. Coleman had a commanding 44 percent share of the vote (2,464 votes), and Foulkes a distant second at 31 percent (1,758).

Coleman is the Democratic committeeman in the 16th Ward and the daughter of former Ald. Shirley Coleman, who served the ward from 1991 to 2007.

Foulkes has been an alderman since 2007, but was drawn out of her 15th Ward in 2011, forcing her to run in the 16th.
Foulkes serves on the board of directors for the Paul Simon Job Corps of Chicago, a career training program for young adults.

The 16th Ward covers parts of Englewood, Gage Park, West Englewood and Chicago Lawn.