Wow, that was more interesting than I thought it would be.
Daley was re-elected with 71% of the vote. Scandals did hurt him – he won with 83% four years ago. He had no real opposition, Dorothy Brown (current Clerk of Courts) was a token opposition stand-in, and “Doc” Walls, former aide to Mayor Harold Washington, is extremely far Left, only gets 9% even here. Hell, even I couldn’t vote for him, if he had his way with affordable housing policy the condo I am buying would be illegal. He wants to ban the conversion of apartment buildings and require the construction of two affordable units for every market rate unit, or something like that. It wouldn’t create more housing, it would make sure that nothing got built at all, ever. The building where we're looking at buying, with smaller units going down into the $160s or so, provides a gateway to homeownership for all kinds of working/lower middle class people who would be priced out of the market otherwise. The solution is more housing, not less. If we want more affordable housing (and we do), the city should subsidize construction of more affordable units.
But downticket, big things were afoot. Here in the 32nd we forced our banally evil alderman into a runoff, anyway, holding him to 47%. Natarus, the downtown alderman since 1971, was defeated by an Irish kid named Brendan O’Reilly or something. Downtown’s population has swelled by about 100,000 people allegedly. Since there are supposed to be 60,000 to a ward, this will now be a huge, bizarre ward until it can be broken up after the next census. So the 42nd (Loop, Near North etc) probably has 90,000 residents or so right now. But only about 12,500 people voted there.
Hell, Daley won with 317,000 in a city of 3 million – so, probably 20% of eligible voters. Chicago, thy name is Apathy. Still, most wards look like they had 9,000-10,000 votes cast, lending support to my theory that too many people live in the 42nd.
2nd ward (South Loop, Near South) also has a heck of a lot of voters, and the incumbent, Haithcock, trails challenger Fioretti 28%-20%. If Fioretti wins the runoff, it will mean that the oldest Black ward in the city has gone yuppie – inevitable, maybe, but still a surprise. This reduces the Black Caucus to 20 or 19, I’m not sure which. After census 2010, which will result in a shift of ward boundaries toward the denser, highrise areas downtown, they may drop to around 18 out of 50 depending on the gerrymandering. Big, big demographic changes are taking place here.
3 aldermen were defeated outright, including obviously the woman caught taking bribes a few weeks back and saying “most politicians are hos” on tape. Sort of wish I'd been blogging at the time - she was just priceless. The incident apparently did not sit well with 68% of her constituents, who voted for other candidates, including the former cop who won the majority. 11 or 12 other aldercreatures will probably face a runoff. Runoffs do not favor incumbents here. Haters will be pumped and show up in droves. Supporters are discouraged this morning, key players like developers will hedge their bets now. Most runoff races had 3 or more candidates on the ballot, now it will be an up or down referendum on the incumbent. Look for 8 of the 12 incumbents to lose, resulting in a turnover of 11 (as opposed to 3 four years ago). Not sure which way I lean in many of the disputed races, but my suspicion here is that generally change is good.
Daley’s budgets will still pass 50-0 or 49-Preckwinkle. But development patterns will be impacted a lot. Look for fewer teardowns and constructions in Bucktown (32nd) while the South Loop etc (2nd) will explode over the next three years, slowly transforming into the Upper East Side, only with crime. It is Chicago, still. Due to the odd timing of Chicago elections, the census data will not be ready for Feb. 2011 and changes won’t take place until 2015 when they are already outdated. But the 42nd and 2nd will probably be broken up into 3-5 wards for that election, when we choose Daley’s successor and a wealthy, dense city core will be assuming a much larger role in city politics.