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Michelle Smith wins re-election as alderman of the 43rd Ward after Vickery concedes ... After going ahead on the first day of counting of absentee ballots, Vickery fell behind in the count, which doesn't have to be completed until April 23...

Forty-third ward alderman Michelle Smith was declared the winner in one of the city's closest aldermanic races on April 14, 2015, after challenger Caroline Vickery conceded defeat. The announcement came following the beginning of the count of the absentee ballots following the very close April 7 runoff election. The runoff came after no candidate won a majority of the votes in the February 24 municipal election. The 43rd Ward decision left three wards still holding out as the absentee ballot counts continued. A final result has to be announced in each race by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners by April 23.

The 43rd Ward decision leaves only four wards still being counted. In the 10th Ward, Sue Garza is still ahead of incumbent Alderman John Pope. In the 21st Ward, Alderman Howard Brookins, Jr., is ahead of challenger McNeill. In the 31st Ward, challenger Millie Santiago is ahead of incumbent Ray Suarez. And in the 16th Ward, incumbent Ald. Toni Foulkes remains 148 votes ahead of her opponent Stephanie Coleman. In addition to the mayoral contest which was won by incumbent Rahm Emaneul over challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, 18 of the city's 50 wards faced runoffs in the aldermanic races. When no clear victor was known in those races, the count went into the absentee and provisional ballots. That count continues in the four wards remaining with races not completed. The counts will be completed on April 21 and the final citywide results announced on April 23.

Michelle Smith, alderman of the 43rd Ward (Lincoln Park and that area) on Chicago's north side, stood at the November 20, 2013 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education to claim that Lincoln Elementary School needed an annex because it was "overcrowded." Residents of the ward and the area around Lincoln challenged Smith's claim, telling the Board that the "overcrowding" was contrived and that the $20 million to be spent on the Lincoln project should be spent on schools in poorer communities where there was a real need. Although the Board supported Smith's claims and allocated the funds to build the annex (at a time when the Board was claiming, as always, there is no money and austerity is necessary), the community organizing against the overcrowding claims resulted in one of the tightest aldermanic races in Chicago during the 2015 election. Finally, on April 14, 2015, Smith won re-election when her opponent, Caroline Vickery, who had been one of those protesting the claims of overcrowding, conceded defeat as absentee ballots were counted showing Smith ahead by fewer than three dozen votes. Substance photo from the November 20, 2013 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education by George N. Schmidt. SUN TIMES STORY:

Ald. Michele Smith wins 43rd Ward seat, as challenger Caroline Vickrey concedes [Posted at Chicago Sun-Times, 04/14/2015, 04:19pm, by Tina Sfondeles].

AAttorney Caroline Vickrey, who fought a tough battle to become the 43rd Wards new alderman, conceded on Tuesday to incumbent Ald. Michele Smith.

We could drag this out for another week, demand a recount and file a formal challenge and many of you have urged me to do so but I do not believe this is in the best interest of our ward, Vickrey said in an email to supporters. For this reason, I am today ending my campaign for alderman of the 43rd Ward.

After counting about 800 absentee ballots on Saturday, Vickrey remained behind by 86 votes. She had taken the lead by 69 after the first day of absentee ballot counting last week.

The final election results for Chicago's 43rd Ward showed that the votes that put MIchelle Smith back in office came from some of the wealthiest precincts in the United States, including the Gold Coast (lower right on the map above), which had been gerrymandered into the ward in the most recent remap, while the more middle class portions of the ward supported challenger Caroline Vickery. On Saturday, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners counted some 800 absentee ballots.

Since Smith was elected in 2011, she has faced two controversial decisions: backing a $20 million annex to Lincoln Elementary School and a massive redevelopment deal at the site of the old Childrens Memorial Hospital site.

A suit seeking to block the hospital development site was dismissed last year. Another suit, filed by community members, sought to challenge zoning approvals needs for the school addition and was dismissed in early March.

Vickrey had capitalized on neighborhood controversy over the Smith-backed redevelopment plans for the former Childrens Memorial Hospital site, as well as ethical questions about an $84,000 a year side job that Smith holds.

During the campaign, Smith defended the consulting job she holds for nonprofit the Helen Coburn Meier & Tim Meier Charitable Foundation for the Arts.

I am always engaged and spending my weekends at events, condo board meetings, block parties, school events, Smith told the Sun-Times last month. I work over 60 hours a week and I do consult very proudly for a wonderful nonprofit foundation.

On Tuesday, Smith thanked her supporters, and gave some credit to Vickrey.

Id like to thank Caroline Vickrey for her passion and hard work. She has been a committed community member for over twenty years, and she ran a strong campaign. We look forward to working with her for the betterment of our community, Smith said in an statement to supporters. Thanks to each and every one of you for all you have done. I am humbled by your efforts. We look forward to redoubling our efforts, working together, to move our ward forward.

In other close races, Susan Sadlowski Garzas lead has dwindled to just 33 votes ahead of incumbent Ald. John Pope in the Southeast Sides 10th Ward. Garza has already claimed victory, while Popes campaign officials say they will wait until all votes are tabulated before declaring victory or conceding.

Incumbent Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. remains ahead of Marvin McNeil by 286 votes in the South Sides 21st Ward, and in the 16th Ward, incumbent Ald. Toni Foulkes remains 148 votes ahead of her opponent Stephanie Coleman, daughter of retired Ald. Shirley Coleman. Milagros Milly Santiago, who declared victory on election night, is 86 votes ahead of incumbent Ald. Ray Suarez in the Northwest Sides 31st ward.

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners will not be processing ballots again until April 21, which will include provisional ballots and very-late-arriving absentee ballots, according to spokesman Jim Allen.

The formal proclamation of election results will be announced on April 23.

On Saturday, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners counted some 800 absentee ballots.

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners will not be processing ballots again until April 21, which will include provisional ballots and very-late-arriving absentee ballots, according to spokesman Jim Allen.

The formal proclamation of election results will be announced on April 23.



Comments:

April 16, 2015 at 10:39 AM

By: Jean Schwab

Election

I was very interested in this election. Caroline Vickrey was more representative of community members with children,but,as things happen in Chicago, Smith was able to bulldoze issues through without taking into consideration the wishes of the the community.

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