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Two Races We're Watching

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jan 18, 2007 2:50PM

2007_1_race.jpgHere at the Chicagoist offices, we're keeping an eye on some of the bigger ward races in town, as well as a few that we just find interesting. The weirdness and anger in the 46th Ward, for example, occupies a lot of our time, as do the accusations and oddball press releases that come out of 49. The 7th Ward is always a fun distraction, and anytime we see Beavers and Jackson in the news, we have to stop and watch. But the two races that keep us most interested, for the sheer passion and potential to shake things up, are in the 32nd and the 50th Wards.

In the 32nd Ward, Scott Waguespack, who is challenging Ted Matlak for Alderman, has opened a new campaign headquarters and will be hosting events most weeks leading up to the election. Aside from being a credible challenger to Matlak, this race is interesting because the winner will define the direction of the ward. Matlak was appointed alderman by Mayor Daley in 1999, after the resignation Terry Gabinski, who had been alderman since 1969. He now finds himself having to defend the outcome of redevelopment plans put into place by his mentor. This is one aldermanic race that really will be about the issues.

The other race that we feel is a must-see is the dogfight that is taking place in the 50th Ward. Bernie Stone, who has been alderman in West Rogers Park longer than Chicago has existed, is being challenged by three candidates. While Naisy Dolar flounders and Salman Aftab makes the rounds on CAN TV with Frank Avila, Greg Brewer is mounting a serious challenge to Stone, netting the Chicago Federation of Labor's endorsement, and the money and manpower that that brings with it. Like the 32nd Ward, this is a race that will be a referendum on both voter satisfaction with the alderman over the basic delivery of city services, and the direction of the ward in the future. Fasten your seat belts, kids, this year will be a heck of a ride!