Candidates for mayor, city council and other city offices file nomination petitions
A political flex akin to a boxing weigh-in — think signatures instead of brawn — took place on Monday as candidates for mayor and aldermen submitted varying-weight nomination petitions to get their names not just on the ballot, but hopefully at the top.
Community activist Ja’Mal Green hoped to make a statement by transporting his signatures – around 30,000, he said – in a wheelbarrow adorned with ribbons and bows.
Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas’ 6-foot-4 frame (2 inches off his youthful peak) – helped him stand out in the crowd on Monday at the Chicago Board of Elections Supersite, 191 N. Clark St. Vallas turned in a pile, he estimated he had “north of 40,000” signatures.
Vallas didn’t drag the pile of paper to the Loop himself, he joked, “I got a stronger person to carry it.”
But jokes and theatrics aside, Monday actually marked the day races for mayor and other cities got serious — and real.
Beyond bragging rights, mayoral candidates are trying to file more than the minimum 12,500 signatures required to appear on the mayoral ballot — two or three times that is a rule of thumb — to resist to challenges to their petitions by rival candidates seeking to end competing campaigns before they begin.
And the challenges of collecting signatures and filing paperwork require a reality check. Aldus. Ray Lopez (15th) became the first political casualty in the mayoral race on Monday, dropping his bid for the city’s top job and opting for a more winnable re-election bid.
Signatures, signs and sniping
As of the close of business, a total of six mayoral candidates and 121 mayoral candidates filed petitions on Monday, the first day of the week-long filing period. Candidate aldermen must submit a minimum of 473 signatures.
Candidates who handed in their signatures on Monday morning won a spot in a Dec. 6 lottery to have their names appear at the top of the ballot, a spot that offers a slight advantage, according to a widely accepted but never proven political tradition. .
Even more widely accepted — and proven in most elections — is the need to file additional signatures to withstand the challenges of petitions in the city’s cutthroat political world.
Aldus. Sophia King (4th) was accompanied by a placard-carrying entourage as she handed in her signatures to run for mayor, estimated at 37,000. Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson said he handed over approximately 41,000 signatures for his mayoral candidacy.
Leading them all, businessman Willie Wilson said he handed over more than 61,000 signatures. He took a moment to hit on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to hand in her signatures next Monday (the last possible day) and enter a separate lottery for last place on the ballot, a location believed to offer the next best advantage. .
“Obviously she’s having issues getting signatures,” Wilson said.
False, according to a spokeswoman for the mayor’s campaign.
State Representative Kam Buckner, a former lineman for the University of Illinois football team, had no problem handling the weight of his petitions. He said they contained more than 24,000 signatures, just under double the minimum to run for mayor.
U.S. Representative Jesús “Chuy” García, a relative latecomer who announced his candidacy for mayor earlier this month, was absent Monday at the city’s election supersite in Clark and Lake.
Moreno plays his card, Burke keeps his on his vest
Beyond the heated race for mayor, next year’s election will usher in big changes and new voices for city council as well as familiar faces and names.
In the 1st district of the near northwest side, holder Ald. Daniel La Spata has filed his petitions to run for a second term. So did the incumbent he ousted four years ago by more than 22 percentage points.
Former Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno is trying to make a political comeback after facing a series of booze-fueled scandals, including spending a week in jail for a DUI and being charged with insurance fraud and obstruction of business. justice for falsely reporting that his 2017 Audi was stolen.
In interviews this year, Moreno said he sank after failing to dissuade a beloved friend from taking his own life.
Other challengers at La Spata include Sam Royko, a West Town lawyer and son of the late legendary columnist Mike Royko, and Stephen “Andy” Schneider.
Only two candidates have filed petitions in the 14th arrondissement on the southwest side, where Ald. Ed Burke, the longest-serving alderman in Chicago history, has dominated since 1969. Candidates starting Monday included Jeylu B. Gutierrez and Raul Reyes.
Burke hadn’t filed any motions as of 5 p.m. He is expected to stand trial in November 2023 for federal racketeering, bribery and attempted extortion. If he files a case, he would be seeking his 14th term on city council.
But in other neighborhoods on Monday night, 55 candidates filed for the 14 city council seats whose incumbents are retiring, running for mayor or have moved for other reasons.
The south side’s 21st Ward has drawn the most competition, with eight candidates filing for the seat now held by retiring Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. They include Patricia L. Tillman, Cornell Dantzler, Tawana J. “TJ” Robinson, Justin Sawyer, Larry Lloyd, Preston Brown Jr., Lawaco Toe, and Ronnie L. Mosley.
Next is the North Side’s 48th Ward, where Harry Osterman’s retirement drew seven early filers: Joe Dunne, Isaac Freilich Jones, Andre Peloquin, Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, Brian J. Haag, Nick Ward and Larry Svabek.
In the 30th District on the northwest side, Jessica Gutierrez, daughter of former U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez, is making another run for the Council seat being surrendered by retiring Ald. Ariel Reboyras, who narrowly won a runoff with Jessica Gutierrez four years ago. She will have to beat three others this time to claim the seat, including Juanpablo Prieto, Warren Williams and Ruth Cruz.
No break for the nominees
And new Council members already recruited to fill some of these vacancies will likely have to fight for those seats.
Aldus. Nicole Lee, appointed to replace the doomed old Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson in the 11th arrondissement, attracted three challengers, Ambria Taylor, Anthony “Tony” Ciaravino and Elvira “Vida” Jimenez.
Aldus. Monique Scott, named to succeed her brother Michael Scott in the 24th Ward on the West Side, attracted three challengers: Vetress M. Boyce, Luther Woodruff Jr. and Larry G. Nelson.
And Ald. Timmy Knudsen faces a challenge from three rivals in his bid to retain the seat of Lincoln Park’s 43rd Ward, which he was named after Ald. Michèle Smith has retired. They include Brian C. Comer, Steve Botsford and Rebecca Janowitz.
The seat vacated by the accused Chicago Ald. Carrie Austin drew just one declarer on Monday, but he potentially has deep pockets.
Bill Conway, who lost his challenge to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx two years ago, has asked to succeed Austin, noting that his former Far South Side Council seat now includes parts from the Loop and West Loop, where Conway lives.
He is the son of William E. Conway Jr., who helped found the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, and has a net worth pegged at $3 billion. The billionaire pumped $10.5 million into his son’s unsuccessful 2020 Democratic primary challenge against Foxx.
Earlier this year, Bill Conway, a former prosecutor and naval intelligence officer, told the Sun-Times he was being asked to run for mayor.
Bill Conway has already brought in $322,700 to his campaign committee, but so far none of that has come from his father. The candidate contributed $50,000 from his own pockets and received smaller donations from business leaders, including $6,000 from Michael Sacks, CEO of Grosvenor Capital Management and founding donor of the Sun-Times.
In other races, 46 candidates ran to run for local three-member civilian oversight boards in Chicago’s 22 police districts. These councils, part of the city’s police reform efforts, are overseen by the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability.
Elections for mayor, alderman and other city offices will be held on February 28, but if no candidate wins a majority of votes in a race, a runoff between the top two candidates will be held on April 4.