The mayoral election is certainly significant in Chicago, but just as important in this city are the 50 aldermanic elections, which also take place Feb. 24.
In certain wards, heated races are brewing. Whether a long-time alderman is leaving his or her seat to make room for new blood or a controversial issue dividing the community, these 12 wards have races that are worth watching.
2nd Ward: This is mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti's ward, at least for another few days. When the ward boundaries were redrawn in 2012, Fioretti was moved out of his ward. It is one of the most gerrymandered wards in the city and resembles splotches of neighborhoods (including Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, Old Town and Bucktown) connected by narrow strips of land just a few blocks wide. Running to replace Fioretti are Bita Buenrostro, Brian Hopkins, Steve Niketopoulos, Alyx Pattison, Stacey Pfingsten and Cornell Wilson. Read more about the 2nd ward here.
7th Ward: A runoff is likely to happen in the 7th ward, which is currently run by Alderman Natashia Holmes. The alderman was appointed in 2013 when Sandi Jackson resigned after she and her husband, Jesse Jackson Jr., were charged with tax fraud. Because Holmes was appointed and not elected, she doesn't necessarily have the advantage that most incumbents do. Holmes is facing seven challengers: Joseph Moseley, Gregory Mitchell, LaShona "Shonnie" Curry, Keiana Barrett, Flora "Flo" Digby, Bernie Riley and Margie Reid. Read more about the 7th ward, which includes parts of Calumet Heights, South Chicago, South Deering and South Shore, here.
11th Ward: James Balcer has been alderman of this ward for 17 years, but this year he is retiring, opening up the race to some new faces. Running to replace Balcer are John Kozlar, Maureen Sullivan and Patrick Daley Thompson (a relative of the famous Daley's). Read more about the 11th ward, which includes parts of Bridgeport, McKinley Park and New City, here.
15th Ward: The incumbent in this ward, Alderman Toni Foulkes, is not running for re-election because the boundaries shifted her demographic from primarily African-American to Hispanic. Six people are running for her vacated seat: Adolfo Mondragon, Raymond Lopez, Rafael Yanez, Eddie Daniels, Otis Davis Jr. and Raul Reyes. The 15th ward includes parts of Brighton Park, Gage Park, West Englewood and Back of the Yards. Read more about the 15th ward here.
16th Ward: This ward was run by the late Alderman JoAnn Thompson, who died February 9, changing the tone of the election. Four people are running to replace Thompson, including Toni Foulkes (current alderman of the 15th ward and likely frontrunner), Jose Garcia, Cynthia Lomax and Stephanie Coleman. Read more about the 16th ward, which includes parts of Englewood, Gage Park and Chicago Lawn, here.
17th Ward: Alderman Latasha Thomas, who has been alderman of the 17h ward for nearly 15 years, is not seeking re-election this year, opening up the race for new challengers. Running to replace Thomas are Glenda Franklin, David Moore and James Dukes. Read more about the 17th ward, which includes parts of Chicago Lawn, Marquette Park, Auburn Gresham and West Englewood, here.
24th Ward: Ten people are running for alderman in this ward, making a runoff a likely possibility. The current alderman, Michael Chandler, is not seeking re-election after representing the ward for nearly 20 years. Running to replace Chandler are Frank Bass, Regina Lewis, Wallace "Mickey" Johnson, Sherita Ann Harris, Roger Washington, Vetress Boyce, Ladarius Curtis, Darren Tillis, Larry nelson and Michael Scott, Jr. Read more about the 24th ward, which includes parts of North Lawndale, Douglas Park and Little Village, here.
33rd Ward: In this North Side ward, which includes parts of Albany Park, Irving Park and Avondale, the three candidates each have their own strong advantage, which could lead to a runoff election. The incumbent, Alderman Deb Mell, comes from a political family, and her father held the same position from 1975 to 2013, when he resigned and was replaced by his daughter. Challenger Tim Meegan has the Chicago Teachers Union endorsement, however, and Annisa Wanat has endorsements from newspapers. Read more about the 33rd ward here.
36th Ward: The incumbent, Alderman Nicholas Sposato, is not running for re-election in the 33rd ward because he is instead running for the 38th ward seat due to boundary changes in the remap. Running to replace Sposato are Christopher Vittorio, Omar Aquino, Gilbert Villegas and Alonso Zaragoza. Read more about the 36th ward, which includes parts of Montclare, Portage Park, Belmont Cragin and Hermosa, here.
38th Ward: The incumbent alderman in this ward, Timothy Cullerton, is not seeking re-election after holding the seat for only one term. This could be an interesting race as current 36th ward alderman, Nicholas Sposato, runs for the seat against six other challengers: Jerry Paszek, Tom Caravette, Heather Satttler, Michael Duda, Carmen Hernandez and Belinda Cadiz. Read more about the 38th ward, which includes parts of Portage Park and Dunning, here.
43rd Ward: The current alderman, Michele Smith, has only held one term in City Council. She faces three challengers (Caroline Vickrey, Jen Kramer and Jerry Quandt) in what could turn out to be a close race with the redevelopment plan for the former site of Children's Memorial Hospital as the central issue. Read more about the 43rd ward, which includes Lincoln Park, here.
46th Ward: The current alderman, James Cappleman, has only been in City Council for one term, but he has been a divisive alderman. The Uptown neighborhood, which is included in the 46th ward, is on the verge of gentification, and residents are torn and vocal about what direction the historic neighborhood should take. Cappleman is running against Amy Crawford and Denice Davis, and there is definite runoff potential. Read more about the 46th ward here.