chicago politics

11th Ward Race Among Tightest in Chicago Runoff Election

If elected, they would be the first alderman for the ward that has been redrawn to represent an Asian majority ward.

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More than a dozen Chicago city council seats are up for grabs in the April 4 runoff election, and of those races is especially close.

Ald. Nicole Lee, who was appointed to serve the 11th Ward in March by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, faces a political newcomer, Anthony Ciaravino, as she attempts to hold onto the seat.

Lee, the first Asian American woman to serve as the ward's alderperson, is counting on a victory come Election Day. Her roots to the 11th Ward run deep.

“I want to run for my first full term because the 11th Ward deserves an alderman who is going to fight for all the things that matter,” she said.

Challenger Anthony Ciaravino, who is a Chicago police officer, grew up in Armour Square.

“One hundred years of generational roots deeply embedded in every part of soil of the 11th Ward," he said. "My passion is second to none. I love this community, and I am very concerned with its future."

Whoever wins election will be the first to represent the ward since its boundaries were redrawn to represent an Asian majority ward. The ward includes both Bridgeport and Chinatown.

Despite their differences, both candidates agree on the top concern.

“Fight for better public safety,” Lee said.

“Crime and public safety,” Ciaravino said.

Lee, who was appointed to replace Patrick Daley Thompson, points out her experience.

“For the last year, I have been working hard to make sure that the police had the resources that they need,” she said. “So, we fought and won the city budget for 2023, which fully funded the police, which included funds for additional CTA patrols anti violence measures.”

Ciaravino notes his experience for three decades as a police officer on the streets. He said more police officers are needed to fight crime.

“I am going to tell you where we are going to get the policemen from, and it’s not going to cost one dollar to the taxpayer, not one cent, and it’s going to happen overnight,” he said. “There is about 1,200 officers that we can get from specialized units right now and have them tomorrow morning at roll call.”

Throughout the contentious race, the candidates have been leveling negative attacks at each other.

“My Asian American volunteers were being bullied, were being intimidated were being called scum, were being called traitor by my opponents' supporters and Asian American volunteers,” he said.

“That’s not true,” responded Lee. “Unfortunately, my opponent he has been on the record talking about how Asian representation on the city council doesn’t matter, and I feel that he is really out of touch with the rest of the ward.”

“Absolutely not true,” responded Ciaravino, “I am a leader for all.”

Both candidates are confident they can secure a win.

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