25th Ward Election: 2 Millennials Head to Runoff to Replace Solis

With all precincts reporting, election results showed Byron Sigcho-Lopez had 29.3 percent of the vote and Alex Acevedo had 22.2 percent, the two highest vote totals of the five candidates running

The race to represent Chicago’s 25th Ward is headed to a runoff election in April.

With all precincts reporting, election results showed Byron Sigcho-Lopez had 29.3 percent of the vote and Alex Acevedo had 22.2 percent, the two highest vote totals of the five candidates running. Because no candidate garnered 50 percent, the race will have a runoff election between the top two vote-getters in April. 

The race changed drastically after Ald. Danny Solis announced in November that he would not seek reelection - leaving the field wide open.

Sigcho-Lopez is an educator and public policy researcher at the University of Illinois-Chicago, as well as the director of the Pilsen Alliance, an organization focused on social justice for working class and immigrant communities on the Lower West Side. Sigcho-Lopez was one of four candidates who previously challenged Solis in 2015, coming in second with 19 percent of the vote - falling about 80 votes short of forcing Solis into a run-off election.

Acevedo is a former registered nurse who currently works as a community relations manager at Oak Street Health, a clinic for senior citizens. He is the son of former state Rep. Eddie Acevedo and unsuccessfully ran for his father’s seat in 2016. [[505902811, C]]

Three other candidates ran as well, with two coming within striking distance - less than 300 votes - of making the runoff. The results are not official, as vote-by-mail ballots postmarked by Election Day may continue to be counted. 

Hilario Dominguez appeared to come in third place with 20.8 percent of the vote. Dominguez is a former special education teacher and community organizer who has worked on issues of housing and volunteered for candidates including Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who endorsed him.

Aida Flores came in fourth, with 19.3 percent of the vote, according to the board of elections. She is a former Chicago Public Schools teacher and principal who currently works as a management consultant. [[504651202, C]]

Troy Antonio Hernandez came in fifth, with 8.3 percent. He is a data scientist who works for IBM and volunteers as director of the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization. He unsuccessfully attempted to run against Solis in 2015 but did not make the ballot.

Solis has represented the ward since he was appointed in 1996, meaning this election will mark the first time in nearly a quarter-century that the 25th Ward will have a new voice on City Council. 

Both runoff candidates are about half the age of 70-year-old Solis, meaning that no matter who wins, the 25th Ward will, for the first time, be represented by a millennial.

Solis has gone silent since late January, when the Chicago Sun-Times reported that he secretly recorded conversations with embattled Ald. Ed Burke as part of a criminal investigation that resulted in a charge of attempted extortion against Burke on Jan. 3.

Solis himself became the subject of a federal criminal investigation in 2014, according to a source familiar with the probe, which is why Solis cooperated in the investigation into Burke. No charges have been filed against Solis, who resigned from his position as chair of the powerful City Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards, which votes on where developers can build multi-million to multi-billion dollar projects across the city.

Solis was a major flash-point in the race, as candidates for the 25th Ward - which includes parts of the Lower West Side, Pilsen, Greek Town, Chinatown and University Village neighborhoods - all attempted to distance themselves from him and paint themselves as reformers.

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