5th Ward Election: Hairston, Calloway in Runoff

A major issue in the race where the candidates differ is their approach to the forthcoming Obama Presidential Center

Ald. Leslie Hairston is headed to a runoff against a prominent activist in the 5th Ward on Chicago's South Side.

Hairston earned 48.5 percent of the vote against two opponents in the Feb. 26 election. Community activist William Calloway came in second place with 26.7 percent, meaning the two will square off once again in April.

Calloway is credited with pushing for the release of dashcam video showing Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014. The release of the footage made international headlines and set off a series of events that included the ouster of the Chicago police superintendent, a second-degree murder conviction for Van Dyke and a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that concluded CPD engaged in a pattern of civil rights violations - prompting a series of reforms under a new consent decree.

Calloway is a documentary filmmaker who founded Christianaire, a violence prevention nonprofit organization, and previously ran for Illinois state representative for the 25th district in 2018, falling short in the Democratic primary.

An attorney who was first elected in 1999, Hairston has highlighted her membership in the City Council's Progressive Reform Caucus and touted her experience working on infrastructure and business development in the ward, like a multimillion-dollar reconstruction of South Lake Shore Drive, renovations to the South Shore Cultural Center, construction of the Comer Children’s Hospital and more.

A major issue in the race where the candidates differ is their approach to the forthcoming Obama Presidential Center, slated for construction in the ward's Jackson Park, to be completed by 2021. Hairston has said she opposes a community benefits agreement between developers and residents to guarantee jobs at the center to area residents and protect them from being displaced by the development.

Calloway has expressed support for such an agreement to be made with the Obama Foundation, the City of Chicago and the University of Chicago. The 5th Ward includes parts of the Hyde Park, Jackson Park, South Shore and Greater Grand Crossing neighborhoods.

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