Alderman's race results
Some will be celebrating, some won't. The Union backed candidates won. The candidates that were not loud, bullying, and arrogant in the debates won. Pat Dowell won the Third Ward, she was the soft spoken candidate, she also called her loud boisterous opponent Dorothy Tillman, a dinosaur. It seems like, the old politicians that are loud bullying and obnoxious lost big. Shirley Coleman now soon to be ex-Alderman of the 16th is another less than quite Alderman who lost, to another soft spoken one, Joann Thompson. Maybe people don't want to be screamed at anymore. Maybe all the noise and no action is extinct?
The campaign had become increasingly nasty, with Haithcock repeatedly calling Fioretti a stalker (based upon an order of protection from abuse order that had been lodged against him by a former female acquaintance) and Fioretti threatening to sue.
The other big change will take place in the 3rd Ward, where longtime Ald. Dorothy Tillman was upended by Pat Dowell. Tillman's loss removes one of the longest-serving aldermen and ends the tenure of the flamboyant, confrontational and controversial Tillman, who came into office with Harold Washington in 1985. Dowell was endorsed by Cong. Jesse Jackson, Jr. Her win gives the congressman yet another ally on city council.
Other incumbents defeated were Shirley Coleman in the 16th Ward, who lost to Joann Thompson, and Michael Chandler in the 24th Ward, who lost to Sharon Dixon. The Chandler-Dixon contest was the closest of the night, with less than 200 votes separating them.
Unions score key victories in council
Tillman, Coleman fall to labor allies
By Dan Mihalopoulos and Rick Pearson
Tribune staff reporters
Published April 18, 2007, 12:58 AM CDT
An unprecedented wave of union support propelled at least four challengers to victory Tuesday over incumbent aldermen backed by Mayor Richard Daley, including veteran Ald. Dorothy Tillman (3rd).
But despite a multimillion-dollar infusion of union cash and campaign workers, incumbents Bernard Stone (50th) and Howard Brookins (21st) survived strong challenges in Tuesday's runoff election, with the mayor's help.
From City Hall to D.C.
Labor claimed its most notable victories in the 3rd Ward, where Pat Dowell unseated Tillman, and the 16th Ward, where Joann Thompson easily defeated 16-year council veteran Shirley Coleman.
Tillman, a self-styled maverick, had gratefully accepted Daley's help against Dowell, who works for the University of Chicago.
"The people of the 3rd ward, this victory is really yours," Dowell said.
With all of the precincts counted, Dowell had a 666-vote edge. Tillman went home for the night after telling supporters the race was too close to call.
Another Daley-backed incumbent, Madeline Haithcock (2nd), fell to lawyer Bob Fioretti, and union activist Toni Foulkes took the open seat in the 15th Ward.
"The unions had a lot to do with it," Haithcock said.
In the 49th Ward, the union's biggest council booster, Ald. Joe Moore, claimed victory over Don Gordon late Tuesday with a 138-vote lead and one precinct that could not be counted because of computer problems.
Ald. Ted Matlak (32nd), a Daley loyalist, left his headquarters before all the votes were counted, but unofficial results put him 122 votes behind challenger Scott Waguespack. The challenger claimed victory but Matlak did not concede.
Daley won a landslide victory in February and will maintain the loyalty of most council members. But the union onslaught marked the first serious challenge to his dominance of city politics.
The results of the 12 runoff races could translate into the biggest change in the City Council since nine incumbents lost in 1987. Three incumbents already had lost their seats in the Feb. 27 primary.
Unions sought to claim credit for the sudden volatility in a council that largely has been unquestioningly loyal to Daley for much of his 18-year tenure.
Relations between labor and Daley historically were excellent, but soured in recent years. The feud reached its low point last year, when Daley used his first-ever veto to reject a union-backed ordinance that would have raised wages and benefits at "big-box" retail stores such as Wal-Mart and Target. Daley's veto was sustained after a contentious council vote.
While loyal aldermen used to be able to depend on powerful patronage groups in Daley's political organization, that ability to help allies fend off challenges was diminished by an ongoing federal probe into fraudulent city hiring.
Hoping to fill the power vacuum left by the decline of the pro-Daley patronage armies, unions flooded wards with campaign workers and spent massive amounts for their endorsed candidates.
Six labor groups reported spending almost $2.6 million on council campaigns since Dec. 1, state records show. The Service Employees International Union led with at least $890,000 behind their aldermanic choices in the seven-week runoff campaign alone.
Jerry Morrison, executive director of SEIU's State Council, said that Tuesday was "a huge night for working families in Chicago."
"We've created a debate in Chicago for the first time," Morrison said. "It was definitely worth the money."
Dennis Gannon, who heads the Chicago Federation of Labor, said it appeared that his group's candidates would win in at least five of eight contests.