The narrative of this race features sometimes harsh criticism of the incumbent, Ald. Deborah Graham, who has represented the ward since 2010. In a heated debate last month, the alderman was at the center of jabs from the start. Her seven, first-time challengers accused her of not being transparent with the community and doing little to bring jobs to the beleaguered West Side.

Graham said she’s done a lot to improve parks and secure funds to make the community more sustainable. She recently told AustinTalks those who criticize her ability to make significant change don’t really understand how city government works.

She failed to win endorsements from both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. One political analyst said he was surprised the newspapers didn’t back the incumbent, instead throwing their support behind attorneys Larry Andolino (Tribune) and Bob Galhotra (Sun-Times).

“I think it is a verdict on how well she has done as an alderman,” said Dick Simpson, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago who once served on the city council.

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