Opinion: The Most Republican Wards in Chicago - NBC Chicago
Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Opinion: The Most Republican Wards in Chicago



    41st Ward: When George W. Bush visited Chicago in 2002, Mayor Richard M. Daley took him to the Norwood Family Restaurant, on Northwest Highway. Not only is it close to O’Hare, it was in a ward that had given Bush 47 percent of the vote in 2000. The president got a standing ovation. The 41st Ward, a place where cops and firefighters can meet the city’s residency requirement but still feel they live in the suburbs, is the last outpost of Republicanism in Chicago. From 1991 to 2011, it was represented by the city’s only Republican alderman, Brian Doherty. It still sends a Republican to Springfield -- state Rep. Michael McAuliffe. But when Doherty ran for the state senate, he was defeated by Democrat John Mulroe.

    42nd Ward: Is it any surprise that a ward encompassing Water Tower Place, the John Hancock Center and Trump International Hotel and Towers would be a cell of Republicanism in the heart of a Democratic city? The condos in those buildings sell for millions and millions of dollars. This ward is home to millionaires, yuppies who moved to Chicago for six-figure jobs, and empty nesters who’ve returned to the city after raising their children in the suburbs. That all spells G.O.P. In this year’s Republican primary, the 42nd Ward generated 4,715 votes -- the highest total in the city. Mitt Romney did very well among these folks.

    43rd Ward: The 43rd Ward has a lot in common with the 42nd. Both are obscenely wealthy enclaves which are culturally and politically isolated from the rest of the city. The 1900 block of Burling Street has become a popular spot to build a multi-million dollar McMansion. In the 2011 mayoral election and the 2012 Republican primary, the two wards gave Rahm Emanuel and Mitt Romney an almost identical 74 percent of the vote. Interestingly, when Complex came out with its list of the 25 Douchiest Bars in Chicago, almost all were in the 42nd and 43rd wards. Draw your own conclusions.

    32nd Ward: This near northwest side ward, once dominated by Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, now dominated by Ald. Scott Waguespack, doesn’t produce as many Republican votes as some others, but it’s home to a very active Republican organization. -- one of only seven with a functioning website. Earlier this year, Ward Room ran an interview with ward committeeman John Curry, who was a candidate for chairman of the Chicago Republican Party. (The race was won by 48th Ward Committeeman Adam Robinson.) “What I try to do is push the point of, ‘If you really don't like what’s going on, and if you don’t like Democratic Party governance, then the only time your vote is really going to matter is when you vote on the Republican side,’” Curry told Ward Room in April. “It becomes a clear protest against the status quo.”

    45th Ward: In 2011, this ward came soooo close to keeping a Republican on the City Council. In a runoff, Democrat John Arena defeated Republican John Garrido by just 29 votes, earning himself the nickname “Landslide.” Nadig Newspapers political columnist blamed Garrido’s defeat on the fact that he ran for Cook County Board President as a Republican in 2010.
    “Garrido’s Republican affiliation cost him hundreds of votes,” Stewart wrote. “A blizzard of 17 attack mailers, more than half funded with union money, effectively isolated Garrido as ‘not one of us’ and as a ‘partisan Republican’ who allegedly was opposed to union collective bargaining rights, supported privatization of city services, favored concealed carry of guns, and got contributions from those who prospered from the city's parking meter deal.”

    Still, the fact that the Republicans could get a candidate into the runoff shows this is one of their strongest wards.  

    Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!