February 24, 2015 Chicago election will not only decide who will be mayor... City Council races will feature challenge to re-elect the current members of the City Council 'Progressive Caucus' and to elect challengers who are opposing the Emanuel bloc in several of the city's wards

[Editor's Note: A shorter version of this analysis appeared at the end of November at As our regular readers know, Substance begins a new "Home Page" on the first of each month. Anyone seeking to locate the ten thousand articles and nearly 8,000 photographs we have published since revitalizing this website during the summer of 2006 should go to "Back Issues" (above, in the Menu Bar) and Search an individual or topic. George N. Schmidt, Editor].

Second Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti spoke on November 19, 2014, at the Board of Education meeting. Fioretti demanded that the Board apply for arbitration of the so-called "toxic swaps" that had earlier been highlighted by researchers from the Chicago Teachers Union and then in an investigative series in the Chicago Tribune. While Fioretti spent the day pressing the issue of the "toxic swaps" both at the Chicago City Council and later at the Board of Education, the union's chosen candidate for mayor, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia was nowhere to be seen or heard from that important day. Substance photo by Nate Goldbaum.The time between Thanksgiving and the winter holidays is a time for organizational work and fundraising for those who are challenging the government of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. As December dawned, it seems there will be a great deal of activity even before New Year's Day sees the "starting gun" of Chicago's municipal election.

The election will feature nine challengers to Mayor Emanuel. It will also feature a plethora of challengers across the city in many of the city's 50 wards. The municipal elections will be held on February 24, 2015.

Most voters will not even begin paying attention to the election news until around Valentine's Day 2015, but many are already hard at work. The voter turnout on February 24, 2015 will likely determine a great deal of how the results go.

In addition to speaking publicly against the "toxic swaps" at the November 19, 2014 Board of Education meeting, Bob Fioretti had also signed a resolution to the City Council a week earlier demanding that the Council investigate the scandals and the roles of Board President David Vitale. As of the beginning of December it was not clear whether Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his allies in the Council would be able to bottle up the resolution, which was signed by the members of the City Council Progressive Caucus.A lot is already going on.

Just before Thanksgiving Day, there was one significant media report that two teachers (and CTU members) were running for alderman in Chicago. And since then, there has been no updated report on precisely how many are actually running, now that nominating petitions have been submitted by the November 24 (five p.m.) deadline. The municipal election will be held on February 24, 2015, and each of these candidates is running.

As of Thanksgiving, the Chicago Teachers Union has endorsed three of the new challengers and the incumbents who have been active in the Progressive Caucus. While Alderman Bob Fioretti has been consistent for more than four years in his public support for the union, including the 2012 strike, a group of union staff members and Karen Lewis came up with a last-minute plan to endorse Jesus "Chuy" Gracia, a Cook County Commissioner with a recent record of anti-union activities, instead of Fioretti.

At the November meeting of the CTU House of Delegates, the union's delegates, after intense debate, voted to endorse three challengers for aldermanic seats, seven incumbent aldermen, and one among the nine candidates for mayor who are challenging Rahm Emanuel. All of the candidates who submitted their nominating petitions by the deadline on November 24, 2014 now face possible challenges to their signatures. As of Thanksgiving (November 26) there had been no public notification of challenges to either the mayoral or aldermanic candidates.

The most recent example of how sophisticated challenges to nominating petitions can limit the public's choice came during the November 4, 2014 election. Prior to the election, operatives for Governor Pat Quinn successfully challenged the nominating petitions of the Green Party candidate for governor. The ploy succeeded insofar as it limited voters' choices on November 4, but Quinn still became the only major candidate of the Democratic Party to lose. Quinn's record of attacking public worker pensions along with his choice of Paul Vallas as his running mate cost him the election, while the other major Democratic Party incumbents, Senator Alan Dixon and Secretary of State Jesse White among them, won comfortably.

The art of challenging nominating petitions in Chicago and Illinois has been perfected mostly by the "Democratic Party Machine."


Aldermanic Hopefuls Challenging Mitts, O'Connor File Nominating Petitions

Candidates vying to unseat incumbent Alds. Emma Mitts (37th) and Patrick O'Connor (40th) filed their aldermanic nominating petitions with the city's election board on Monday.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teacher Tara Stamps, daughter of late Chicago community activist Marion Stamps, submitted over 2,100 signatures this afternoon to get on the ballot to challenge Mitts. The sitting alderman has represented the West Side's 37th Ward since 2000, when she was appointed by former Mayor Richard Daley.

"Since her appointment in 2000, Alderman Mitts has consistently upheld the status quo, voting with Mayor Emanuel to close mental health clinics, slash jobs, and siphon tax dollars into privatization schemes," Stamps' campaign said in a statement.

The Chicago Teachers Union has endorsed Stamps in the February 24 municipal election. Stamps is a supporter of "a $15 minimum wage, an elected representative school board, a moratorium on school closings, and investments in comprehensive solutions to violence," according to her campaign.

Another CPS teacher, Dianne Daleiden, is a 40th Ward aldermanic hopeful. Daleiden, a member of West Andersonville Neighbors Together, filed 1,587 petition signatures today to get on the ballot to challenge O'Connor, who was first elected as the North Side's 40th Ward alderman in 1983. O'Connor is Mayor Rahm Emanuel's city council floor leader.

"In conjunction with community groups and sometimes individually, for 20 years I have tried to persuade Mr. O'Connor to listen to and act upon residents' demands," Daleiden said in a statement. "I am not sitting this out any longer. As alderman, I will put residents before real estate developers and neighborhoods before downtown.

The Reclaim Chicago group and Northside Democracy for America have endorsed Daleiden, who added that "the Chicago machine's time is up." "Voters across the city, and in the 40th Ward, have said, by their signatures, that they want change in the city council," Daleiden said. "They will no longer tolerate paying the high price of pay-to-play politics. My opponent is the ink for city council's rubber stamp. He must run on his record, which puts him in a difficult place with voters who oppose privatization schemes, and overwhelmingly support an elected school board and a $15 minimum wage."


Despite widespread grumbling about Mayor Rahm Emanuel, some of the Chicago City Council's biggest names including the chairman of the finance committee and the alderman who represents most of downtownwill get a pass in the February city elections. Emanuel himself will face what most observers expect to be at most a moderate challenge, with no surprise contenders emerging at the last minute to vie for his job.

That's the bottom line on candidates filing for the Feb. 24 vote. The deadline passed yesterday, and with a few notable exceptions a wide majority of wards will feature four or fewer candidates for aldermen, even before the inevitable nominating petition challenges. Four incumbents will face no challenge at all.

Drawing a clear path to a new term, at a minimum of $106,558 a year (before extra stipends for committee chairs) were Ald. Marty Quinn, 13th; Ed Burke, 14th; Brendan Reilly, 42nd; and Harry Osterman, 48th. Ald. Patrick O'Connor, 40th, the mayor's floor leader, drew just one opponent.

Burke, dean of the City Council, chairs the powerful Committee on Finance. Quinn comes from Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's home ward, and Reilly represents the bulk of the central district. Osterman is from Edgewater and is a close Emanuel ally.

At the other end of the spectrum: the South Side's 7th Ward, where 16 foes filed to take on incumbent Natashia Holmes, and the Northwest Side's 38th Ward, where nine candidates have filed, including Ald. Nick Sposato, who decided to move to this ward after his 36th Ward was pretty much dismembered in a remap three years ago. There are also 14 candidates in the West Side 24th Ward, and 12 in the neighboring 29th Ward.

Overall, however, the number of candidates for alderman is off by about a third at this point, with 252 filing this year compared to 351 last time, according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

Pending petition challenges, Mr. Emanuel will face three veteran polsAld. Bob Fioretti, 2nd; ex-Ald. Bob Shaw, 9th; and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garciaas well as six lesser-known figures.

The newly appointed city treasurer, Kurt Summers, is unopposed, while City Clerk Susana Mendoza has drew one challenger, political activist Marc Loveless.

The number of candidates willing to run got off to a slow start on Nov. 17, when the period for filing nominating petitions opened.

In all cases, any candidate who wins 50 percent of the vote plus one will be elected. If no candidate clear that bar, the top two vote-getters will go into an April 7 runoff.

SUBSTANCE UPDATES, AS OF NOVEMBER 28. This list is before signature challenges are completed. Some candidates may not survive Chicago's legendary (and vicious) final get-on-the-ballot sport. So here is the best list Substance can come up with as of the day after Thanksgiving Day, by Ward order:

Ward 1. Nobody is challenging incumbent Proco Joe Moreno, to our knowledge.

[img=7794]Ward 2. Bob Fioretti was gerrymandered out of the second ward and is running for mayor. The new ward map is a hoot and should be used in any "civics" class to illustrate a gerrymander. Is anyone we know running for the vacant seat.

Ward 3. PAT DOWELL is the incumbent. Ward

4. WILL BURNS is the incumbent. Ward

5. LESLIE HAIRSTON is the incumbent.

Ward 6. RODERICK SAWYER is the incumbent. He has won the support of the CTU and is a member of the City Council Progressive Caucus.

Ward 7. NATASHA HOLMES, who was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is the incumbent.

Ward 8. MICHELLE HARRIS is the incumbent.

Ward 9. ANTHONY BEALE is the incumbent.

CTU leader and community activist Sue Sadlowski Garza is running for Alderman of the 10th Ward with the support of the CTU. She is a counselor at Jane Addams Elementary School, a union executive board member, and a member of the CORE steering committee.Ward 10. JOHN POPE is the incumbent. Sue Sadlowski Garcia, a counselor at Jane Addams Elementary School, community activist, and leader of CORE, is running against incumbent John Pope. Sadlowski-Garza (who is a CTU executive board member and a member of the CORE steering committee) received an early endorsement from the Chicago Teachers Union.

Ward 11. JAMES BALCER, the incumbent, is retiring, so the seat is open.

Ward 12. GEORGE CARDENAS is the incumbent. Pete DeMay is running against George Cardenas, and has the support of many people from Substance and the CTU.

Ward 13. MARTY QUINN is the incumbent.

Ward 14. EDWARD BURKE is the incumbent.

Ward 15. TONI FOULKES is the incumbent. A long-time supporter of the Chicago Teachers Union and a member of the Progressive Caucus, she has already been endorsed for re-election by the CTU.

Ward 16. JOANN THOMPSON is the incumbent.

Ward 17. LATASHA THOMAS, chairmen of the City Council Education Committee, is the incumbent.

Ward 18. LONA LANE is the incumbent.

Ward 19. MATTHEW O'SHEA is the incumbent.

Ward 20. WILLIE COCHRAN is the incumbent.

Ward 21. HOWARD BROOKINS JR is the incumbent.

Ward 22. RICARDO MUNOZ, a member of the City Council Progressive Caucus (already supported by the CTU) is the incumbent.

Ward 23. MICHAEL ZALEWSKI is the incumbent.

Ward 24. MICHAEL CHANDLER is the incumbent.

Lindblom High School delegate Ed Hershey spoke forcefully against the Board's policies at the November 19, 2014 Board meeting (above). Hershey has submitted petitions to run for alderman of the 25th Ward. Among those condescending to Hershey and other Board critics was "Chief Administrative Officer" Tim Cawley (above right, with eyes closed) of CPS, one of the majority of the top executives who had never taught a class or run a school in Chicago. Cawley's qualifications included years as an executive with Motorola, followed by a sting as an administrator at the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL). Substance photo by Nate Goldbaum.Ward 25. DANNY SOLIS is the incumbent. Ed Hershey, a Lindblom HIgh School physics teacher and long-time CORE activist, is running against Solis. Socialist Jorge Mujica is also running (and there are other candidates too).

Ward 26. ROBERTO MALDONADO is the incumbent.

Ward 27. WALTER BURNETT JR. is the incumbent.

Tammie Vinson was one of the many teachers who challenged the Board of Education during the November 19, 2014 meeting at Westinghouse High School. Vinson, who is currently a candidate for alderman of the 28th Ward, has been a union leader (executive board) and CORE leader (steering committee). Yet for some mysterious reason some of the union's staff were trying as late as the union's December 1 executive board meeting to block a union endorsement for Vinson's candidacy. Substance photo by Nate Goldbaum.Ward 28. JASON ERVIN is the incumbent. He is being challenged by Chicago Teachers Union leader (and CORE leader) Tammie Vinson, who currently teaches at DePriest Elementary School.

While Sarah Chambers tried to explain how ridiculous the PARCC questions were (reading levels much higher than the children's age) Zerlina Smith, a parent of children at Saucedo, held up a sign trying to show the Board members what Chambers was trying to discuss. Smith has submitted nominating petitions to challenge Deborah Graham for Alderman of the 29th Ward, but some union staff seem determined to block support for any opponent of Graham. Substance photo by Nate Goldbaum. Ward 29. DEBORAH GRAHAM is the incumbent. She is being challenged by Zirlena Smith, who works with Action Now and as a parent was one of the main architects of the test boycott at Saucedo Elementary School last year; she is an associate member of CORE.

Ward 30. ARIEL REBOYRAS is the incumbent. Ward 31. REGNER SUAREZ is the incumbent. Ward 32. SCOTT WAGUESPACK is the incumbent. He is one of the leading aldermen in the Progressive Caucus and has been honored by the CTU several times for his support of the union. [img=7797]Ward 33. DEBORAH MELL is the incumbent. TIM MEEGAN, a Roosevelt High School teacher and Chicago Teachers Union (and CORE) activist, is running against incumbent. Ward 34. CARRIE AUSTIN is the incumbent. Ward 35. REY COLON is the incumbent. Ward 36. NICHOLAS SPOSATO, the incumbent, is running in the 38th Ward because he was gerrymandered out of his 36th Ward seat (see below). Sposato has received the support of the Chicago Teachers Union and is a long-time leader of the Progressive Caucus.

Tara Stamps shocked the audience during the November 19, 2014 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education by revealing that the "Jenner School of the Arts" at which she teaches has no art because of the Board's budget manipulations. Stamps is running against Emma Mitts, a long time supporter of union busting and reaction, for alderman of the 37th Ward. Mitts promoted the first Walmart in Chicago, denounced the unions who opposed Walmart's exploitation of its workers, and has praised Rahm Emanuel to the heavens. Substance photo by David Vance. Ward 37. EMMA MITTS is the incumbent. TARA STAMPS, a Jenner Elementary School teacher and union activist, is running against incumbent Emma Mitts, who has proudly proclaimed her record against unions (she supported the first Walmart in Chicago) and in support of Rahm Emanuel.

Ward 38. TIMOTHY CULLERTON is the incumbent. Cullerton is not running for re-election. Nick Sposato, a member of the Progressive Caucus already endorsed by the CTU, is running for the spot.

Ward 39. MARGARET LAURINO is the incumbent. [img=7792]Ward 40. PATRICK O'CONNER is the incumbent. He is being challenge by CTU and CORE member Dianne Daleiden.

Ward 41. MARY O'CONNER is the incumbent. Ward 42. BRENDAN REILLY is the incumbent. Ward 43. MICHELE SMITH is the incumbent. Ward 44. THOMAS TUNNEY is the incumbent. Ward 45. JOHN ARENA, the incumbent and a leader of the City Council's Progressive Caucus, is receiving CTU support against at least two major challengers.

Ward 46. JAMES CAPPLEMAN is the incumbent. Ward 47. AMEYA PEWAR is the incumbent. Ward 48. HARRY OSTERMAN is the incumbent. Ward 49. JOSEPH MOORE is the incumbent. Ward 50. DEBRA SILVERSTEIN is the incumbent.


December 1, 2014 at 7:49 AM

By: Melissa Sanchez

other teacher candidates

Hi George, just in case you missed it, we did write a long story about all the CTU educators who are running for aldermanic seats. I hope we got them all! I counted eight -- but please let me know if you know of more!

December 1, 2014 at 10:02 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Other teacher -- and union -- candidates

You're absolutely right, Melissa, and it's going to be fun covering all these elections "going forward" (as is said nowadays). We hadn't heard from Marcia Williams and the others, and we will try and expand these coverages as we get more people on these beats. Each ward will be a series of stories, and to date we've barely gotten started. I'm hopeful that by the Substance staff meeting (in two weeks), we have at least one reporter or friend bringing in the stories from each ward campaign, as well as someone else to follow all of the mayoral candidates (even Rahm). Already, Rahm has apparently stopped using the "Mayor's Press Office" as his own private publicity office. For several weeks, he hasn't issued any of those self-serving publicity stunt announcements, complete with photographs by Brooke Collins. We'll see if that continues, too.

December 1, 2014 at 3:51 PM

By: Ronda Locke

statement regarding challenging 1st ward alderman.

you mentioned 'Ward 1. Nobody is challenging incumbent Proco Joe Moreno, to our knowledge. '

but incumbent has four challengers - including me. Visit for more details.

December 2, 2014 at 7:27 PM

By: Dion Miller-Perez

15th Ward

Toni Foulkes is running in 16th ward not 15th ward.

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