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Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

Ald. Chris Taliaferro Faces Runoff Against CB Johnson In 29th Ward Race

Taliaferro has led the ward since 2015, while Johnson is known in the area for helping people struggling with substance abuse.

Community activist CB Johnson has forced Ald. Chris Taliferro (29th) into a runoff.
Provided/Colin Boyle, Block Club Chicago
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AUSTIN — West Side Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) will face challenger CB Johnson in a runoff.

The city elections board released its final, unofficial results Tuesday night, with Taliaferro securing 49.75 percent of the vote — just a hair underneath the 50 percent needed to escape a runoff. That means he’ll face Johnson, the second-place candidate, in the April 4 runoff.

Taliaferro earned 4,868 votes, while Johnson has 3,897 votes, or 39.83 percent, according to the unofficial results. The results are expected to be certified when the elections board’s commissioners meet Wednesday afternoon.

Taliaferro had just more than 50 percent of the vote Feb. 28. But the incumbent alderman saw his lead get trimmed as mail-in votes were counted.

The ward includes parts of Austin, Belmont Cragin, Galewood, Dunning and Montclare.

A marine sergeant and 23-year veteran of the Police Department, Taliaferro was elected in 2015 after forcing predecessor Deborah Graham into a runoff. Taliaferro easily won reelection in 2019 and has been the chair of the city’s powerful public safety committee and an ally of Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Taliaferro made an unsuccessful bid for a Cook County judge post in June.

Taliaferro previously told Block Club he “wasn’t expecting it to be a cruise” to his third term as 29th Ward alderman. He welcomed competition and “very good campaigns” from challengers, as they show a growing sense of community engagement on the West Side, Taliaferro previously said.

He also said that if reelected, he’ll focus on seeing through West Side development projects championed by Lightfoot, whom he endorsed for a second term. That includes social service hub Aspire Center, planned at the site of a closed school, and a new small-business sector called Soul City Corridor, along Austin’s stretch of Chicago Avenue.

Taliaferro said Wednesday he is “very confident” that the runoff will swing in his favor.

The voters have spoken in the first round and have made “public safety their number one priority,” Taliaferro said.

The incumbent said he’ll work to lower violent crime and supports fellow West Sider Brandon Johnson for mayor. Johnson has promised to hire and promote 200 detectives if he’s elected, an idea Taliaferro supports.

Taliaferro added he’s learned that residents “want public services at a much more rapid pace.”

With eight years under his belt, Taliaferro said he’s “more prepared to lead than my opponent is.”

Johnson, a lifelong Austin resident well-known in the neighborhood for helping people struggling with substance abuse, twice ran for alderman before. He previously told Block Club he would “work like a full-time alderman.” He was endorsed by Rep. Danny Davis.

Johnson has said he supports increased funding for the Police Department and wants more equitable tech supplies for West Side schools. He also previously said he’ll host regular community meetings.

Johnson said Wednesday he has a clear path to win the seat, with “the majority of people already saying ‘no’ to Chris.”

“He didn’t win his dream of being a judge, so now he’s decided again he wants to be an alderman,” Johnson said. “The people need more. We haven’t had a voice speak for us for years, and I know I’m that voice.”

Johnson said “the state of the community is in real crisis” and he’ll focus on curbing the opioid epidemic, creating jobs and improving resources in local schools.

As a lifelong community organizer Johnson said he’s best for the job because he’s “been here running a nonprofit, working and organizing, combatting issues and concerns people have.”

The unofficial results:

  • Chris Taliaferro: 4,868 votes, 49.75 percent
  • CB Johnson: 3,897 votes, 39.83 percent
  • Corey Dooley: 908 votes, 9.28 percent
  • Walter Adamczyk (write-in): 6 votes, 0.06 percent
  • Lisa Ann Brown Newman (write-in): 106 votes, 1.08 percent

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