are critical. In the Feb. 27 election, Daley got
318,578 votes (71.1 percent of the votes cast) in
a turnout of just 447,571. Chicago has 1,416,101
registered voters. That means Daley got just 31.6
percent of the total voter pool. And his black
opponents, Dorothy Brown and Dock Walls, amassing
a total of 128,993 votes, got 9.1 percent of the
true winner of the election was "None of the
Above." Roughly 840,000 eligible Chicagoans
chose not to vote. That can be attributed to
fatigue with Daley, frustration with lack of
viable alternatives and corruption in City Hall.
To be sure, neither Brown nor Walls possessed
money or credibility. They failed to raise the
"reform" standard, and they failed to
energize the black voter base.
2003, against three uninspiring black foes, Daley
got 115,000 votes in the 20 black-majority wards.
In 2007 he got 103,899 votes, winning either a
plurality or a majority in every ward. In Todd
Stroger's 8th Ward, Daley got 6,944 votes (50.6
percent of the votes cast). In the 7th Ward, where
Sandi Jackson upset the "Beavers
Machine," he got 6,060 votes (53.8 percent).
In Jesse White's Near West Side 27th Ward, he got
3,933 votes (64 percent). In Ike Carothers' West
Side 29th Ward, he got 5,422 votes (64.6 percent).
black Democratic committeemen produced votes for
the mayor, in large part because the mayor made
sure that Todd Stroger retained the Cook County
Board presidency and control of thousands of
patronage jobs. But the turnout in the black wards
was feeble when compared to 2004, when Barack
Obama rolled up a staggering 421,235 votes in
those wards. Of the city's voters, 631,920 are in
predominantly black wards. Turnout in those wards
was more than 461,000 in 2004 but just 188,912 in
2007, when Daley's foes got a total of 85,013
votes. That means almost 445,000 voters in
black-majority wards didn't vote.
vote was equally inauspicious among white voters.
Registration in Chicago's 20 white-majority wards
is 594,064, or 42 percent of total voters. In this
election Daley got 166,882 votes, or just 28
percent of those eligible to vote in those wards.
many respects, Daley is a Republican. He supports
privatization of city services, wants to bring in
big-box development, and has kept a lid on city
spending and taxes. Only one union endorsed him.
But the mayor spent more than $3 million, scared
off opposition from Jesse Jackson Jr., got Obama's
endorsement, and mobilized city and county job
won because "livability" trumps
corruption. Crime is down, educational
performance, property values and economic growth
are up, city services are satisfactory, and taxes
are tolerable. Satisfied Chicagoans voted, while
dissatisfied Chicagoans didn't. Those who seek
reform and blame Daley for city corruption had no
champion. Hence, they abstained.
1987, just 20 years ago, at the height of Harold
Washington's power, turnout was more than 1.1
million. It has dropped by more than 650,000 since
then. If and when some politician comes along who
can awaken that sleeping giant, Daley will be
mayor's immediate problem is domination of the
City Council. Because Daley fairly allocates city
services to each ward and because each alderman
has $1.2 million annually in discretionary funds
to spend, the council has been subservient. The
unions secured 35 votes for their big-box living
wage ordinance, which Daley vetoed, and the
council failed to override the veto. Since the
last City Council election in 2003, there have
been only two consistent critics of the mayor:
Aldermen Joe Moore (49th) and Ricardo Munoz
(22nd). In the next council, there will be at
the past seven municipal elections, incumbents won
268 of 302 contests, or 88.7 percent. In 2003 only
three incumbents lost. On Feb. 27 three incumbents
lost: Burt Natarus (42nd), Arenda Troutman (20th)
and Darcel Beavers (7th), and there will be 12
runoffs on April 17, with 11 incumbents in
jeopardy. At least six will lose.
new council will have at least four consistent
Daley critics: Moore, Munoz, Toni Preckwinkle
(4th) and Sandi Jackson (7th), the wife of U.S.
Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-2). The growth
of an anti-Daley bloc will depend on two factors:
infallibility and inevitability.
Daley must intervene successfully in the April 17
aldermanic runoffs. Nine incumbents are loyal
Daley supporters, one is a Daley appointee, one
opposes Moore, and one opposes a union-backed
candidate. Having won, Daley has some political
capital. As the current and future mayor, his
endorsements have value; likewise, he can divert
money and manpower to his chosen candidates. But
the mayor must be discreet. If he supports various
contenders and they lose, then his image of
the secondary, or subliminal, issue is
inevitability. The U.S. Attorney's Office has
convicted 41 in the Hired Truck Program probe and
is closing in on Hispanic Democratic Organization
chieftains Victor Reyes and Al Sanchez. If they go
down, Daley is next. To govern effectively during
his new term, Daley must convey the image of
continuity and invulnerability. He must appear
poised for another term in 2011.
he successfully conveys that image, the City
Council will be compliant. If it unravels, chaos
will reign. There is no anti-Daley spokesman at
present, but there soon will be.
aldermen will be positioning themselves as the
anti-Daley contender for 2011.
will be running for Congress in 2008, and if he
wins, he will use that as a platform to run for
mayor. Moore, if he is re-elected, will run as the
2011 "reformer." Preckwinkle or one of
the Jacksons will be the African-American
candidate. To govern, Daley must at all times be
perceived as a likely 2011 winner. If it looks
like he will be indicted, his power evaporates.
Here's a look at key runoffs:
a rule of thumb, incumbents who get close to 50
percent of the vote in the general election can
succeed, but those who get less than 40 percent
the South Side 2nd Ward, which has a growing white
population, pro-Daley Alderman Madeline Haithcock,
who is black, got 2,130 votes (20.4 percent of the
votes cast); in 2003 she got 4,190 votes. Attorney
Bob Fioretti, who is white, got 2,927 votes (28
percent), and he will beat her.
the South Side 3rd Ward, where pro-Daley Alderman
Dorothy Tillman has championed slave reparations
for years, the unions backed Pat Dowell, who got
3,020 votes (38.2 percent) to Tillman's 3,383
(42.8 percent). In 2003 Tillman got 3,986 votes to
Dowell's 2,728, winning with just 52 percent of
the vote. Unless Daley floods the ward with
workers, Dowell will win.
the South Side 16th Ward, where pro-Daley Alderman
Shirley Coleman opposed the big-box living wage
ordinance and welcomed Wal-Mart, the incumbent got
just 2,023 votes (36 percent of the total); the
pro-labor candidate, Joann Thompson, got 2,328
votes (42 percent). Coleman got 3,079 votes in
2003. She will lose the runoff.
the North Side Wicker Park/Bucktown 32nd Ward,
where pro-Daley Ted Matlak has been unable to
entrench himself, Matlak got 3,793 votes (47
percent of the total), to "reformer"
Scott Waguespack's 3,185 (39 percent). Matlak got
5,518 votes in 2003 with the help of a precinct
army commanded by since-convicted Daley operatives
Don Tomczak and Dan Katalinic. He got 6,725 votes
(54 percent) in 1999. Clearly, his base is
deteriorating. Unless Daley invades the ward with
his workers, Waugespack will win -- and be an
the Logan Square 35th Ward, pro-Daley Alderman Rey
Colon faces former alderman Vilma Colom. The HDO
will come to his rescue.
the West Rogers Park 50th Ward, pro-Daley Alderman
Berny Stone got 5,059 votes (48.3 percent of the
vote), to Naisy Dolar's 2,958. Stone got 5,755
votes in 2003. Daley cannot let him lose.
the Lincoln Park 43rd Ward, pro-Daley Alderman Vi
Daley got 4,334 votes (48 percent), to Michele
Smith's 2,960. Daley got 5,678 votes in 2003. The
mayor cannot let her lose.
the Rogers Park 49th Ward, the pro-union Moore is
in a runoff with Don Gordon, who is quietly
pro-Daley and pro-business. Moore got 3,637 votes,
to Gordon's 2,162. Moore got 3,693 votes in 2003.
The mayor will try to beat him.
the South Side 21st Ward, occasionally pro-Daley
Alderman Howard Brookins is facing pro-union LeRoy
Jones Jr. in the runoff. Brookins got 6,361 votes
(46 percent of the vote) to Jones' 4,745. In the
2003 runoff, Brookins got 6,015 votes (51
percent). Daley will keep hands off.
prediction: Of 12 runoffs, the pro-Daley candidate
will win four.