With a younger, more progressive Chicago City Council already set to take over City Hall in May, the outcome of 14 runoffs across the city will determine the balance of power.
Nearly a quarter of the city will get new political leadership in 2023, a result of an unprecedented exodus of veteran alderpeople that will herald — along with the election of a new mayor — the start of a new era at City Hall.
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- 2023 Runoff Election Voter Guide
The highest profile race on Tuesday pits housing organizer Angela Clay who appears to have defeated Kim Walz, who works in government relations for Walgreens, in the contest to represent the 46th Ward, which includes Uptown. The winner will replace retiring Ald. James Cappleman.
While Clay was backed by the Chicago chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America and United Working Families, a progressive political organization tied to the Chicago Teachers Union, Walz had the backing of heavyweights in the Democratic Party, including Gov. J.B. Pritzker and her former boss, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley.
Walz conceded late Tuesday to Clay, who held 56% of the votes with 100% of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.
“I am endlessly grateful to my supporters who put their faith in me and my campaign," Walz said in a statement. "I also want to thank my friends, family, team, and our amazing volunteers for their unwavering encouragement throughout this journey. None of this would be possible without them, and I am so grateful for their support."
The neighboring 48th Ward is also set for new leadership. The contest to replace retiring Ald. Harry Osterman pits small business owner Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth against affordable housing developer Joe Dunne. With 100% of precincts reporting, Manaa-Hoppenworth held 52% of votes, while Dunne was at 48%, according to unofficial results.
Clay would be the seventh self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist on the City Council, expanding the group’s clout at City Hall, while Manaa-Hoppenworth would join the three other progressive politicians who will replace moderate and male veterans on the City Council: Ald.-elect Julia Ramirez (12th Ward); Ald.-elect Jelyu Gutiérrez (14th Ward) and Ald.-elect Jessie Fuentes (26th Ward).
The two other City Council members elected in February are Ald.-elect Bennett Lawson (44th Ward) and Ald.-elect Bill Conway (34th Ward), who are likely to be part of a block of moderate alderpeople representing areas around downtown and the West Loop.
Lightfoot’s Appointees Face Tests
Ald. Timmy Knudsen is hoping to join Lawson, Conway and the other moderates on the City Council by winning a full term representing the 43rd Ward, which includes Lincoln Park and Old Town. He faces Brian Comer, the head of the Sheffield Neighborhood Association.
Knudsen is one of three people appointed to the City Council by ousted Mayor Lori Lightfoot running for full terms.
Knudsen earned 52% of votes, while Comer received 48%, with 100% of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.
In the 24th Ward on the West Side, Ald. Monique Scott is hoping to permanently replace her brother, former Ald. Michael Scott, who resigned in June and was appointed by Lightfoot to the Chicago Board of Education. Monique Scott faces Creative Scott, a businessman who is not related to her family.
Ald. Scott led with 67% of votes, while Creative Scott was at 33%, with 95% of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.
The other City Council runoff on the city’s West Side pits Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward) against challenger CB Johnson, a community activist. The pair traded leads in a tight contest throughout Tuesday evening. Taliaferro led with 51% of votes, with 95% of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.
Neither Johnson nor Creative Scott has raised a significant amount of money for their campaigns against Monique Scott and Taliaferro, both of whom fell just short of winning the contests during the first round of voting.
In the 11th Ward, Ald. Nicole Lee hopes to defeat Anthony Ciaravino, a police officer, in the first Chicago ward to have a majority of Asian American voters.
Lightfoot appointed Lee to replace the convicted Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson in the redrawn ward, which unites all of Chinatown.
Ciaravino is one of two remaining City Council challengers endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 7.
Lee declared victory Tuesday evening with 62% of the votes, while Ciaravino held 38%, according to unofficial totals, with 100% of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.
“We have made history tonight, with the first Chinese American elected to the first Asian American majority ward,” Lee said in a statement. “For 115 years, Chinatown has existed in Chicago without Chinese representation, and that ends tonight.”
On the city’s Southeast Side, two candidates are running to replace retiring 10th Ward Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza. Ana Guajardo, an immigrants’ rights organizer, faces Chicago police Officer Peter Chico, who leads with 59% of votes, with 100% of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.
Progressive Push Expands Citywide
Three races to replace veteran alderpeople on the South Side could also expand the City Council’s Progressive Caucus.
In the 4th Ward, state Rep. Lamont Robinson is vying to replace Ald. Sophia King, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor. Robinson, who is backed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, faces Prentice Butler, who served as King’s chief of staff and has her endorsement.
Robinson has 67% of votes, while Butler is at 33%, with 100% of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.
In the 5th Ward, Desmon Yancy, who helped craft the new Chicago Police oversight board, declared victory over Tina Hone, who worked for Lightfoot in the mayor’s office, in the race to replace retiring Ald. Leslie Hairston. Yancy earned 52% of votes, compared to 48% for Hone, with all precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.
“For the first time ever, the 5th Ward elected a Black man to represent them in city council and I am committed,” Yancy said in a statement. “I look forward to partnering with the people of the 5th Ward over the next few weeks to build a vision for what the future of the 5th Ward will look like.”
In the 6th Ward, pastors William Hall and Richard Wooten are running to replace Ald. Roderick Sawyer, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor. Hall holds 58% of votes, while Wooten is at 42% with 100% of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.
“As a community organizer and pastor, William has consistently advocated for Chicago’s working families and fought to promote economic opportunity, public safety, quality public education, and equitable access to city services,” SEIU Healthcare Illinois, which backed Hall, said in a statement Tuesday evening. “We are thrilled to work together to build a better future for Chicago’s 6th Ward.”
United Working Families has endorsed Yancy in the 5th Ward contest and Hall in the 6th Ward race.
In the 21st Ward, Ronnie Mosley, who owns a consulting firm, faces Cornell Dantzler, a retired Chicago firefighter in the contest to replace retiring Ald. Howard Brookins. Brookins has endorsed Mosley, who held 52% of votes with 100% of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.
The size of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus will also depend on the outcome of three City Council runoffs on the Northwest Side.
In the 36th Ward, teacher Lori Torres-Whitt is running to unseat Ald. Gilbert Villegas, who lost a bid for Congress in 2022. Torres-Whitt is backed by the Chicago Teachers Union and United Working Families. Villegas declared victory late Tuesday while holding a 58-42 percentage advantage over Torres-Whitt with 100% of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.
“Over these next four years, I pledge to do what I’ve done for the last eight — fight like hell for my ward and my neighbors,” Villegas said in a statement. “I promise that I will not let you down.”
In the 30th Ward, Ruth Cruz and Jessica Gutiérrez are running to replace Ald. Ariel Reboyras. While Cruz is backed by Reboyras, Jessica Gutiérrez is the daughter of former U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez. With 100% of precincts reporting, Cruz holds 51% of the votes, while Gutiérrez is at 49%, according to unofficial results.
In the 45th Ward, Ald. Jim Gardiner, who is the subject of multiple probes by the city’s inspector general, faces lawyer Megan Mathias. Gardiner holds 55% of votes, while Mathias is at 45% with 100% of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results.