A Whole Bunch of Wannabes
By Kevin Robinson in News on Nov 27, 2006 1:50PM
The political season is over for most of the country. Hell, it's over for most of the media, and all the other people that sit around and watch it like "Monday Night Football." For the next month and a half, most of us will be thinking about eggnog, latkes, Wild Turkey with grandma, and how to pick up that cashier at Jewel with the intriguing accent.
But if there's one group of people that are still thinking about politics, it's the aldermanic candidates that are trying to get and hold your attention until the municipal primaries on February 27 (which is, for all intents and purposes, the real election here in Chicago). A smattering of independents are running, as well as outsider and "reformer" Democrats, and the errant Republican.
Chicagoist won't be able to kick Daley around too hard, what with Bill "Dock" Walls running a noble and passionate — but ultimately losing — race against Hizzoner, and Dorothy Brown doing Daley's dirty work for him. But we are convinced that this is the election cycle where machine politics turns its full attention to the South Side, and into the black community. With William Beavers taking power on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, having assumed John Stroger's 4th District seat and controlling the Board Presidency through his puppet Todd Stroger, Daley only stands to gain this cycle. With Beavers firmly in control, heading his own mini-machine in the 7th and 8th Wards, what better opportunity to dig in even deeper and further entrench his interests than with two Aldermanic seats.
Although Jr. won't be running against Daley this time around, his wife, Sandi Jackson, will be vying for the 7th Ward seat being vacated by current Alderman Beavers. She'll be running against William Beavers' daughter, Darcel Beavers.
While Sandi Jackson and Darcel Beavers are throwing down in the 7th Ward, re-enacting much of the drama of the 1995 congressional primary when Jesse Jackson Jr. beat Emil Jones for an open House seat, the 8th Ward looks to be a cakewalk for Michelle Harris. The long-time secretary to the Cook County Board of Commissioners, niece of former Ald. Lorraine Dixon and former 8th Ward superintendent will replace Todd Stroger on the City Council when he takes office this winter. Being as deeply connected to the Ward as she is and with the field so crowded with four other candidates, Harris has the upper hand. If Beavers can hold the seat her father is leaving and Harris retains the 8th for the Stroger clan, the consolidation of power under William Beavers will be complete on the South Side, and the stage will be set for the rise of the new black machine. Even if Beavers loses in the 7th Ward, Jackson will be in a position to be appear as a reformer in future city and county races.
Some of the other interesting races that will be happening this primary season, are taking place in the 50th Ward, the 49th Ward, the 46th Ward, and the 7th Ward. And Ted Matlak in the 32nd Ward has a challenger (again). Brian Doherty is being challenged by local rabble-rouser and Jesse Jackson Jr.'s new best friend, Frank Coconate.
In the 46th Ward Ald. Helen Shiller is facing a challenge from James Cappelman, former president of the Uptown Chicago Commission. The demographics in Uptown have shifted considerably in the 20 years since Shiller took office as part of Harold Washington's re-election in 1987, and this is expected to be a bitter and difficult race for her.
In the 49th Ward, Ald. Joe Moore has three, count 'em, three challengers. Chris Adams, Jim Ginderske, and Don Gordon. While Moore has tried hard to make this race about Wal-Mart and foie gras, expect to see the other three try to bring it back to affordable housing (the perennial issue here) and development on the lakefront. For our money, we like Gordon to put up the best challenge, but with such a crowded field splitting up the liberal vote in that ward, and Moore holding all the cards in terms of organization, we think Gordon has his work cut out for him.
In the 50th Ward, Ald. Bernie Stone's bid to become the longest serving (and oldest) Chicago alderman is being challenged by three other candidates: Salman Aftab, Naisy Dolar, and Greg Brewer. While Aftab is part of the Jackson-Coconate coalition, Brewer has perhaps the best organized and well-funded campaign of the three.
Chicagoist is looking forward to these races, and many others, and you can be sure that we'll be doing our best to bring you all the play-by-play action that you've come to expect from us. In the meantime, here's a video from YouTube introducing Greg Brewer.