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Englewood, Chatham, Auburn Gresham

Community Organizer Ronnie Mosley Declares Victory In 21st Ward Runoff To Replace Ald. Howard Brookins

With all 29 precincts reporting, Mosley held 52.12 percent of the vote over Cornell Dantzler.

21st Ward candidate and community organizer Ronnie Mosley.
Ronnie Mosley/YouTube
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AUBURN GRESHAM — Ronnie Mosley is primed to be the next 21st Ward alderperson after coming out ahead in Tuesday’s election. 

With all 29 precincts reporting, Mosley held 52.12 percent of the vote to Cornell Dantzler’s 47.88 percent, an advantage of 547 votes, according to unofficial results. 

Dantzler did not return calls for comment. He told the Sun-Times he was not conceding and was confident mail-in ballots would swing the race his way.

There are 1,549 unreturned mail-in ballots in the 21st Ward, according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. Not all will necessarily translate into votes, as some may not have correct postmarks, some won’t have logged a vote for alderperson and some may not be submitted at all.

Elections officials expect about half of the mail-in ballots to be returned and counted.

“I am honored to have been elected alderman of the 21st Ward,” Mosley said in a statement. “This was a groundswell campaign that was built on a shared vision, and I’m incredibly thankful to the voters, volunteers, endorsers and staff who made this a winning campaign. Now our goal is to bring everyone together so we can build our community with business growth, resources for youth and seniors, and smart solutions for public safety.”

Mosley, a community organizer, and Dantzler, a retired fireman, emerged from a crowded seven-person race to advance to the runoff election in February in hopes of succeeding outgoing Ald. Howard Brookins. 

The leader of the 21st Ward — which will include the former Far South Side 34th Ward under the city’s controversial ward remap — will serve parts of Auburn Gresham, Brainerd, Longwood Manor, Fernwood and West Pullman.

The new City Council will be sworn in May 15.

Mosley, who was born and raised in the 21st Ward, has lived in Washington Heights with his wife since 2019. 

He was driven to run for alderperson by the community who raised him and his family, Mosley said. His cousin, who he was named after, was shot and killed shortly before his mother had him at 14, Mosley said.  His mother’s cousin encouraged her to “go on, be great and make the family proud,” Mosley said.

Mosley is the founder of Homegrown Strategy Group, a consulting firm that helps communities and institutions enact political and policy changes. He’s helped clients such as Gov. JB Pritzker and the Obama Foundation, he said. Mosley also organized for cannabis legalization and equity. 

While attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, Mosley fought for criminal justice reform and helped the Service Employees International Union unionize their cafeteria workers, he said.  

Ahead of the election, Dantzler accused Mosley of falsifying academic records, claiming the candidate lied about graduating from Morehouse College. 

Mosley told Block Club in March he has not yet earned a degree from the historically Black institution, although his campaign website states he “completed his studies” at the college. He was “in and out” of the college because of affordability, Mosley said. 

“What I hear and understand is that when folks say they heard I completed my studies, they took that as graduating,” Mosley said at the time. “It is true that I’m an alum and a Morehouse man backed by the Alumni association, and I hear and understand folks when they say they feel misled. At that point, I can only ask for forgiveness and be clear. That’s what I’ve been working to do.”

Mosley’s top priorities included public safety, economic development and supporting local businesses, he said. He also hoped to create more local resources for youth and older people in the community, he said. 

Mosley also hoped to revitalize the Major Taylor Trail — a 21st Ward destination named after Marshall “Major” Taylor, a Black cyclist once known as the fastest rider in the world — and build an “entertainment zone” with better food options and reliable transit. 

He was endorsed by Brookins, Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church and Gov. JB Pritzker.

His campaign had  $179,800 in contributions since December 2022, including a $20,000 donation from Pritzker, $30,000 from the Chicago Teachers Union and about $89,000 from various affiliates of the Service Employees International Union.  He also received $1,000 from 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea and 38th Ward Ald. Nick Sposato, who both won reelection in February. 

Dantzler, a Morgan Park and West Pullman resident for over 50 years, was encouraged to run by fellow lifelong neighbors “familiar with my community service,” he previously told Block Club. He prioritized public safety, infrastructure improvement, economic opportunity and mentorship programs in his campaign.

Dantzler raised more than $81,000 in contributions. His largest donation of $59,397.20 came from the Chicago Fire Fighters Union. 

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st) looks on at a City Council meeting on Dec. 14, 2022.

Brookins announced his retirement in September after nearly 20 years serving the South Side ward.

He initially announced he’d run for reelection a month prior before changing course and opting not to run for a sixth term. In August, Brookins said he hopes to help run his family’s funeral home business when he leaves office.

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