Updated: Feb 6
In part 2 of 7, we're headed to the Northwest Side, including my own ward. Far less friendly to progressives than the North Side wards covered in part 1, there are still some rays of hope in these matchups. Check out the About page for endorsement criteria.
I'm just an individual person doing research. I hope this is a helpful resource to people, especially those wanting to participate by voting but without the time to heavily research or engage. If you're someone deeply involved in your local elections and organizing, I doubt you need what I have to say- you know your community and election better than I do. If you think I've gotten something wrong (or right!), keeping the values on the About page in mind, I want to hear from you about it and take your input into consideration. Please comment or use the chat tool!
First, we have 3 headline highly competitive races:
30th Ward- Warren Williams
The 30th ward is an open seat, as Alder Ariel Reboyras saw a tough reelection coming and decided to retire, after narrowly being reelected in 2019. Now drawn to cover parts of Old Irving Park, Kilbourn Park, Portage Park, and Belmont Cragin, the ward has multiple candidates more progressive than the current alder to choose from. I think the best of these is Warren Williams, an organizer and founder of 30th United, an independent political organization seeking progressive change in the ward. He is highlighting universal free public transit, protected bike lanes, the Chicago Climate Action Plan, reestablishing the Department of the Environment, the Treatment Not Trauma ordinance, increased affordable housing, and more community-driven zoning as key platform proposals. He seems to be well-rooted in the ward and is backed by The People's Lobby, Northside Democracy for America, and Cook County College Teachers Union. This is the best grassroots progressive campaign in the ward and I support it!
Williams is not the only one getting progressive/liberal backing in the race, however. Jessica Gutiérrez, a teacher and the daughter of former Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, nearly was elected in 2019 and is running again. She is well-funded, with significant funding coming from what remains of her father's campaign fund as well as Unite Here!, a major union that is on the right side of most issues, but not all, including the Bally's Casino which I've been working to oppose. Her platform does not have the progressive clarity of Williams's (especially on public safety) and her father's record of more performance than progressive substance doesn't help her either. Also running are Ruth Cruz, a Local School Council member and higher education professional with backing from the trade unions (which is usually a cause for concern for me in aldermanic races, as good as unions are generally), Juan Pablo Prieto, Director of Diversity for CTA with a good progressive platform but without the organizational backing Williams has.
See more at warrenfor30.com.
38th Ward- Ed Bannon
38th Ward Alder Nick Sposato, representing parts of Portage Park and Dunning, waited a very long time to make clear he was running for reelection, and he's drawn a few challengers. He's one of the most conservative members of the council and the 38th ward was among the top few wards by percentage of Trump voters in 2020. So, understandably, there's no solid progressive in this race. Ed Bannon is the most serious and most promising of the challengers. A lifelong Northwest Sider, a Local School Council member, and a deeply involved community member, he has a good vision for his community and would be far more open to working with progressives on the council than the current Alder is. He has led efforts to take care of community members and spaces, has been heavily involved with economic development efforts, and his platform notes the importance of addressing root causes of crime and support for participatory budgeting for ward funds (which I'm a bit skeptical of as a policy proposal but I think it is a good signal for the direction he wants to go on the whole). I'd appreciate a more detailed platform site, but Bannon will be a marked improvement over Sposato, and he seems like he may have a real chance of at least making a runoff against Sposato.
Other candidates are Cynthia Santos, Franco Reyes, and Bruce Randazzo, but all either are too clearly conservative or aren't currently demonstrating they have the serious campaigns needed to be considered.
See more at edbannon.com.
45th Ward- Ana Santoyo
So, the 45th Ward in Jefferson Park and Portage Park may be competitive but I'll admit it isn't one for which I have high hopes. Alder Jim Gardiner's first term has been full of harassment controversy, lawsuits, intimidation, machine guns, and a hit-and-run on a garden. The fragile ego clown show may come to an end as the disorderly law-and-order alder faces multiple challengers who see an opening in the chaos. The progressive among the challengers is Ana Santoyo, an activist in the Party for Socialism and Liberation who started in the anti-war movement, studied sociology, and is fighting capitalism. She has a clear and inspiring platform that includes diverting funds from the police to better solutions, expanding affordable housing, removing police from schools, moving the minimum wage to $20, guaranteeing parental leave, and making the CTA free. She's quite a bit less detailed than some other good candidates but I appreciate her courage to run with that platform in the 45th ward. Progressive organizations have not been active in this race and it doesn't seem likely Santoyo will make the runoff, but if you're looking for a place to put your protest vote against the ridiculousness of Gardiner, vote Santoyo.
Other candidates include Gardiner, Megan Mathias, a small business owner with a hardscrabble background who would be an improvement for sure, Susanna Ernst, a frequent leader in community organizations, Marija Tomic, and James Suh. None of them at all seem to be progressives, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Gardiner lose here, and the council would be better for it.
See more at anaforward45.com.
Next, two incumbents face somewhat competitive reelections.
39th Ward- Denali Dasgupta
My own 39th ward, with North Park, Sauganash, Mayfair, and parts of Edgebrook, Forest Glen, and Albany Park, is represented by first-term Alder Samantha Nugent. To me she has seemed reasonably competent but is definitely positioned as establishment and fits best with the less-liberal residents of her ward when it comes to city-wide issues. 39th Ward Neighbors United is the local progressive IPO and is backing Denali Dasgupta, a researcher and advocate. She'll have a deeper and more progressive approach to public safety that directs dollars to what works, is backing the Treatment Not Trauma ordinance, and highlights her support for the restoration of the Department of the Environment and a cumulative impacts ordinance for environmental harm to communities of color. She is receiving backing from progressive groups and has a chance in this uphill fight against Nugent.
See more at denalifor39.com.
41st Ward- Paul Streubing
I'll be clear, Paul Streubing is no progressive, but he's the one challenger to the City Council's lone Republican, Anthony Napolitano. The 41st ward encompasses the conservative police and fire havens of Edison Park and Norwood Park. Napolitano has unsurprisingly been very conservative in his time in office, but Streubing seems more reasonable. He's an attorney, the VP of a community council, and a Local School Council member. His platform at least mentions more nuanced mental health crisis response, violence interruption, and the significance of addressing root causes, and gives attention to various other important quality of life issues. He lays out a long list of grievances against Napolitano, and the fact he's running suggests others may share them.
See more at paulfor41.com.
Finally, a non-competitive race in which I have no endorsement:
31st Ward- No Endorsement
First-term 31st Ward Alder Felix Cardona (Belmont Cragin) faces only one challenger. Esteban Burgoa still faces a petition challenge as of this writing and doesn't seem to be running a very credible campaign. Cardona is solidly establishment and doesn't receive an endorsement.
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