IRVING PARK — Ruth Cruz claimed victory over Jessica Gutiérrez in Tuesday’s election to become the new 30th Ward alderperson.
With all 26 precincts reporting Tuesday night, Cruz held 51.52 percent of the vote to Gutiérrez’s 48.48 percent, edging ahead by 260 votes, according to unofficial results.
Gutiérrez, who narrowly lost the 30th Ward race in a runoff against Reboyras in 2019, did not immediately return calls for comment but told the Sun-Times she was not conceding.
The newly redrawn Northwest Side ward includes portions of Belmont Cragin, Irving Park, Portage Park and Avondale.
There are 1,536 unreturned mail-in ballots in the 30th 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 returned for processing.
The new City Council will be sworn in May 15.
Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th) announced in September he wouldn’t seek reelection, ending 20 years in City Council.
Gutiérrez and Cruz emerged from a field of four candidates, garnering 37 percent and 27 percent of the vote respectively Feb. 28. Since neither got at least 50 percent of the vote to win outright, the race went to a runoff.
Reboyras backed Cruz in the Feb. 28 election. Despite the alderperson’s backing, Cruz previously pledged independence from Reboyras.
She supported progressive policies like community zoning, participatory budgeting and more investment in youth and violence prevention programs that emphasize mental health for residents, kids and law enforcement.
“I want to build an independent, progressive ward office that is transparent, that is inclusive and puts people first,” she told Block Club in March.
The election party at Cruz’s campaign office, 5714 W. Belmont Ave., became a standing-only crowd after the results came in.
“Thank you so much for my family. For the donations for everything. Again, it hasn’t been called. But we’re in a good place,” Cruz said.
As Cruz spoke, the crowd started chanting “Ruthless” and laughing. Cruz later told Block Club earlier in the campaign a person supporting Gutiérrez made a sign that said “Ruthless Cruz” and would stand outside the Belmont Cragin library during early voting.
“But I started hearing people say they wanted to vote for ‘Ruthless Cruz’ so it helped and now that’s my supporters call me,” Cruz said.
She was standing on a chair in front of a photo of her late mother that was tapped to the window behind her and flanked by Ald. Felix Cardona, Jr. (31st).
“I want to say tonight that even though my mother is not with me here today, but she is in spirit,” Cruz said.
Cardona told Block Club he supported Cruz’s campaign after securing reelection in his City Council race in February. He said he is looking forward to having an ally in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood that shares Belmont Avenue’s commercial corridor and also has roots in the neighborhood.
“I saw Ruth for four and a half years ago and saw that she had so much potential. She loves her community and she’s really gives her heart out to the community,” Cardona said.
Going into her freshman term, Cruz said she wants to focus on constituent services for the ward and and public safety and plans to meet with local police commanders to do a block-by-block assessment of problem areas.
Cruz also previously said she would push for more police officers in the ward, support the Treatment Not Trauma ordinance, implement block safety assessments, push for the creation of a mental health committee within City Council and work to reopen mental health clinics.
Cruz also said she’s interested in learning from more established City Council members like Cardona, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd) on how to push legislation important to her constituents.
“This is not about myself. It’s about the community. But I will be advocating and I will be standing up for what I believe is right and what is going to have a positive impact for my community,” Cruz said.
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