CTU fails to endorse mayoral candidate, targets aldermanic races in 25 of 50 Chicago wards, endorses Susana Mendoza for City Clerk
After more than two hours of intense discussion and a series of motions and votes, the members of the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates left their postponed February 2011 meeting on February 14, 2011, without reaching a conclusion on who to support for mayor in the upcoming mayoral vote on February 22. The February 2 meeting had been postponed because of the blizzard, and the re-scheduled meeting couldn't be held until February 14 because of the difficulty in finding a location for the meeting, according to union officials. The CTU House of Delegates consists of delegates elected by teachers in all of the city's union public schools, plus delegates representing all of the other groups represented by the union. [Full disclosure: This reporter is a delegate currently representing some of the union's more than 3,000 retired teacher members].
Debate was held on motions to endorse Carol Moseley Braun and Miguel DelValle, but both motions were inconclusive because of the way in which amendments changed them, according to observers and those present.
A CTU press release issued on February 14 stated as follows:
"At a meeting tonight which was rescheduled from February 2, 2011 due to the blizzard conditions, the governing body of the Chicago Teachers Union, the House of Delegates, voted early in the meeting to endorse 25 candidates for alderman and Susana Mendoza for City Clerk.
"But the debate surrounding which mayoral candidate to endorse was vigorous. "All mayoral candidates were in play tonight. Some received more member attention than others, but any delegate could propose any candidate for endorsement. In the end, no single mayoral candidate could muster a majority of delegate support and, as the night wore on, we no longer had a quorum," said Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union.
"Our 30,000 members are independent thnkers who will vote. Many have played and will continue to play critical roles in local and city-wide races. They know what is at stake and will vote for the candidate they believe will improve schools and improve the system," said Lewis.
The union did vote to endorse 25 candidates for alderman. The union has taken no position on the races in the other half of the city's 50 wards. The candidate for alderman who were endorsed by a vote of the union's House of Delegates are (Ward, Name of Candidate, status of candidate):
Ward 2, Robert "Bob" Fioretti, Incumbent
Ward 3, Pat Dowell, Incumbent
Ward 4, Will Burns, Open
Ward 5, Pat Leslie Hairston, Incumbent
Ward 6, Fredrenna Lyle, Incumbent
Ward 8, Michelle Harris, Incumbent
Ward 12, Jesse Iniguez, Challenger
Ward 15, Toni Foulkes, Incumbent
Ward 17, Latasha Thomas, Incumbent
Ward 18, Chuks Onyezia, Challenger
Ward 19, Matt O'Shea, Open
Ward 20, Che "Rhymfest" Smith, Challenger
Ward 21, Sylvia Jones, Challenger
Ward 22, Ricardo Munoz, Incumbent
Ward 24, Donielle Lawson, Challenger
Ward 25, Cuatemoc Morfin, Challenger
Ward 28, Jason Ervin, Incumbent
Ward 30, Ariel Reboyras, Incumbent
Ward 32, Scott Waguespack, Incumbent
Ward 36, Jodi Biancalana, Challenger
Ward 43, Carmen Olmetti, Open
Ward 46, Marc Kaplan, Open
Ward 47, Ameya Pawar, Open
Ward 49, Joe Moore, Incumbent
Ward 50, Debra Silverstein, Challenger
The union did not endorse any candidates in the following wards: 1, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 23, 26, 27, 29, 31, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 45, and 48. The reasons for the union's having taken no positions on these races were not stated at the meeting.
Following the February 22 voting, there will be runoffs for all office in which no candidate has a majority (50 percent plus one of the votes). There will be six weeks between the February 22 voting and the runoff.
According to the CTU press release: The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools and, by extension, the students and families they serve. CTU, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, is the third largest union in the country and the largest local union in Illinois.