aftershocks continue in numerous Chicago wards,
where in the recent election eight aldermen lost,
five being Democratic ward committeemen.
a politician who is both an alderman and a
committeeman loses his City Council seat, he
almost invariably loses his party post in the next
election. Going into this election, 30 of the 50
aldermen were Democratic committeemen. Expect some
new aldermen to run for committeeman.
are afoot in other wards as well, where aging or
fading aldermen, expecting tough challenges in
2011, face 2008 contests for committeeman. Some
inept or complacent committeemen are in danger.
Shakman Decree, which banned city hiring based on
political connections, coupled with the Hired
Truck Program scandal, mean that committeemen
can't get jobs for worthy precinct workers.
However, under the Daley Administration, jobs went
to groups such as the Hispanic Democratic
Organization, not to committeemen.
the post is important. To an alderman, it's a
means to consolidate power and eliminate
opposition. To a challenger, it's a means to build
a base to run for alderman. Here's a look at 2008
Ward (Norwood Park, Edison Park, Oriole Park,
Edgebrook): The debate here rages between those
who contend that it is either Chicago's most
Republican ward because it has the worst
Democratic organization or the least Democratic
ward because it has the best Republican
Brian Doherty is the City Council's only
Republican, and his ally, state Representative
Mike McAuliffe, is the ward Republican
committeeman and the sole Chicago Republican in
the Illinois House. In the 2006 contest for Cook
County Board president, Republican Tony Peraica
beat Democrat Todd Stroger by 9,739 votes in the
ward, with 74.9 percent of the vote. Against very
liberal or black Democrats, Republicans win the
George Bush lost the ward 12,951-11,292 in 2000
and by 14,625-13,017 in 2004, while Rod
Blagojevich won the ward by 370 votes in 2006,
after having lost it by 629 votes in 2002.
any election, the Doherty-McAuliffe organization
can put 60 workers on the street. In contrast,
former state representative Ralph Capparelli, the
ward's Democratic committeeman, can barely muster
10 workers. After he lost to McAuliffe in 2004,
Capparelli had more than $700,000 in his
legislative campaign account. He paid himself
$418,582 in June of 2006, which is legal under
state law, and transferred $39,000 to Friends of
Capparelli, which he uses for meals, cell phones
and personal expenses. He spent none of that money
to beat Doherty, and the 41st Ward Democrats have
only $5,093 on hand.
to insiders, Capparelli, age 82, will step down as
committeeman in 2008, and his successor will be
Tom Jaconetty, a longtime attorney with the Cook
County Board of Review. But unless a Democrat is
the alderman, the 41st Ward will remain a
Ward (West Rogers Park): Alderman Berny Stone
barely won in the April runoff election, topping
Naisy Dolar by 661 votes and getting 52.9 percent
of the vote. The ward's Democratic committeeman
since 1998, Stone will be 83 years old in 2011,
and it is doubtful he will run again. Younger
members of the ward Democratic organization are
urging him to step aside for state Senator Ira
wants his daughter, Ilana Stone, to be his
successor, and he won't give up the party post.
But Jewish voters are a dwindling force in the
ward, and they will be a voting minority by 2011.
Expect the political organization of U.S.
Representative Jan Schakowsky, who endorsed Dolar,
to field a foe against Stone in 2008. If the
liberals get themselves energized, perhaps with
Barack Obama's campaign, and turnout is high,
Stone could lose.
Ward (Dearborn Park, North Bronzeville, Taylor
Street, South Lawndale): It's said that the
enemies of one's enemy are one's friends. Not for
U.S. Representative Bobby Rush, the ward's
Democratic committeeman: His enemies are
multiplying like rabbits, he has no friends, and
his political instincts are rapidly withering.
was an alderman from 1983 to 1992, and he has been
the ward's committeeman since 1984 and a
congressman since 1992. He anointed his aide,
Madeline Haithcock, as his aldermanic successor,
and then got into a feud. He ran his sister
against Haithcock in 1995 and 1999, but in 2007 he
endorsed Haithcock while she was politically
self-destructing. That's sort of like allying
oneself with Saddam Hussein as U.S. troops mass at
ward has a growing white population, and
Haithcock's service operation was inept. In a
six-candidate field, with four black candidates
and two white candidates, Haithcock got just 20
percent of the vote, while Bob Fioretti, a white
lawyer, got 28 percent. Fioretti creamed Haithcock
with 66.1 percent of the vote in the April 17
words describe Rush: Dumb and helpless. Fioretti
will beat him for committeeman in 2008, since Rush
and 2007 mayoral loser Bill "Dock" Walls
will split the black vote, and Rush will have a
tough opponent, probably state Senator Kwame Raoul,
in the 1st District Democratic primary.
Ward (South Side: Bronzeville): Dorothy Tillman
has been an alderman since 1983 and the ward's
committeeman since 1984. She lost in April, and
she will lose again in 2008.
support from the mayor, Tillman was defeated by
union-backed Pat Dowell by 4,513-3,847 in the
runoff, getting 46.1 percent of the vote. On Feb.
27 Tillman led Dowell 3,383-3,020, with 1,511
votes going to three other candidates. In a higher
April turnout, Dowell got nearly all the
anti-Tillman votes, and Daley's efforts raised the
Tillman vote by just 464. Dowell will win the
committeeman's post in 2008.
Ward (South Chicago): Bill Beavers, who has been a
committeeman since 1984, was an alderman from 1983
to 2006. When he resigned to become a county
commissioner, Daley appointed his daughter, Darcel,
as alderman. But she lost big to Sandi Jackson,
the wife of U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.,
by a margin of 6,462-3,703. Expect Beavers to lose
for committeeman in 2008 and for commissioner in
Ward (Rogers Park): These words describe David
Fagus: Irrelevant, obscure and politically
impotent. As the ward's Democratic committeeman,
he can take about 1 percent of the credit for
re-electing Alderman Joe Moore.
the highly transient ward, Moore, who has been an
alderman since 1991, won in April by just 247
votes, with 50.9 percent of the vote against Don
Gordon. Moore had 3,657 votes in the municipal
election and 3,862 votes in the runoff. In 2004
Fagus, a Moore protege, was elected committeeman
with 3,679 votes, to 1,714 for Mike Harrington,
Gordon's 2007 campaign manager.
will run again in 2008, with the backing of
Gordon's organization. If he wins, it will be
another indication of Moore's weakness.
to ward sources, Moore may retire in 2011 and back
community activist Katy Hogan, 2007 loser Jim
Ginderske (who got 13 percent of the vote), or
Fagus, if he's still the committeeman, for his
Ward (Uptown): Alderman Helen Shiller eschews
party involvement, but Democratic Committeeman Tom
Sharpe backs her. Shiller was re-elected in
February by 5,834-5,133, with 53.1 percent of the
vote. Her opponent was Jim Cappleman, a social
worker and the consensus choice of the anti-Shiller
in the ward is economic, not partisan. It's
"haves" versus "have nots" --
property owners versus renters, half-way housers
and the homeless. Shiller's base is withering, and
the number of "haves" in the ward is
growing. She likely will lose in 2011. Cappleman
and his allies have no interest in Sharpe's job.
He will win again, by default.
Ward (Wicker Park, Bucktown, North Lakeview,
Ukrainian Village): It ain't over until it's
over, but here, where Alderman Ted Matlak lost by
122 votes, it's over. The Rostenkowski dynasty,
dominant since 1936, is no more. Terry Gabinski, a
Dan Rostenkowski protege who was the ward's
alderman from 1969 to 1999 and who has been a
committeeman since 1988, will be gone in 2008.
who has been an alderman since 1999, was
Gabinski's protege, and both labored mightily to
facilitate the ward's redevelopment, with $1
million homes, $500,000 townhomes and $250,000
condos replacing dinky bungalows. They got
contributions from developers, but not votes from
the new buyers.
the April runoff, Gabinski, with few captains
left, exerted a Herculean effort, bringing in
workers from all over the city. Scott
Waguespack ran as a reformer, made the buffoonish
Matlak the issue, and spent less than $100,000
(compared to Matlak's $700,000). In a huge upset,
he won with 50.7 percent of the vote.
is now the target of state Representative John
Fritchey, an ambitious, liberal legislator who
wants to run for state attorney general in 2010 or
for mayor in the future. Fritchey needs a city
political base, and he is a good fit for the
upscale 32nd Ward. Expect Gabinski to retire and
Fritchey to win.
Ward (Gold Coast, North Loop): What can you say
about ubiquitous 36-year Alderman Burt Natarus?
How about: Bye-bye?
spent nearly $1 million but lost to Brendan Reilly
by 6,802-5,721, getting 45.7 percent of the vote.
In 2004 Natarus, who succeeded George Dunne as the
ward's committeeman, won 4,692-3,525, with 57.1
percent of the vote, against a former judge.
Reilly, a future mayoral contender, will run for
committeeman in 2008. Natarus, out of office, will
lack fund-raising capability. Reilly will beat
Ward (Lincoln Park): This is Alderman Vi Daley's
last term. She got 53.3 percent of the vote in the
runoff. Round one of the 2011 election is 2008.
Daley's ally, Democratic Committeeman Peg Roth,
will face opposition from forces allied with
former alderman Marty Oberman and 2007 loser