Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) locked down four more years on the Chicago City Council Tuesday as her challenger refused to make the traditional phone call to congratulate the winner.
Candidate Tara Stamps’ refusal to officially concede marked a bitter end to the first runoff Mitts faced in her 15 years as a West Side alderman.
Out of nearly 10,000 votes cast, the alderman won reelection with 52.7 percent of the vote (5,211), according to unofficial results from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. Stamps, a CPS teacher, captured 47.3 percent (4,675).
More voters turned out for the April 7 runoff than in any of the three elections Mitts ran in since then-Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed her to the council in 2000.
Not long after the polls closed Tuesday night, Stamps told her campaign supporters she would not be making a concession speech.
“If anybody’s waiting on me to call Emma and say, ‘Well, it was a good fight,’ you got me twisted,” Stamps said, causing the crowd to cheer.
A Stamps spokeswoman did not return messages later Tuesday night to confirm whether the candidate called the alderman after all 41 precincts had been counted – a traditional election gesture. Mitts had not received a call by 10:30 p.m. but said her challenger may have called another line in the office.
It was a hard-fought six weeks for both candidates, and the tension between the two was apparent. Mitts told AustinTalks she had always felt disrespected by Stamps, while Stamps accused her taking actions that hurt the black community.
After the final votes had been tallied, a beaming, sweaty Mitts told her supporters she never worried about losing. But she doesn’t like races — they keep her from doing her job, she said.
“I’ll take the heat any time to keep the seat,” said the 59-year-old former Streets & Sanitation worker.
For more, visit austintalks.org.