All but one West Side incumbent alderman will face opponents in the Feb. 28, 2023 election, although it remains to be seen how many of those challengers will be able to stay on the ballot.

According to the Chicago Board of Elections, Ald. Walter Burnett (27th), whose ward includes the northeast portion of East Garfield Park, will run unopposed. Ald. Monique Scott (24th), who represents a ward that mostly falls within North Lawndale, is facing six challengers in her first election since she was appointed in June.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), whose ward includes West Garfield Park and parts of North Lawndale and Austin, will face three challengers. Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) is facing three opponents. And Ald. Emma Mitts (37th), the longest-serving incumbent of the five, is facing three.

This will also be the first election where West Siders will vote for members of the police district councils, which were established in July 2021 as part of the broader effort to improve police oversight. Each council will have three members and all four police districts that are part of the West Side have at least five candidates running.

However, not all of the candidates may stay on the ballot. It isn’t unusual for incumbents to try to kick challengers off the ballot by objecting to the validity of the nominating petition signatures, and there have been instances of challengers objecting to incumbents’ or other candidates’ petitions. The objections can be filed by 5 p.m. on Dec. 5, with the hearings expected to take place later that month.

In the 24th Ward, the field is dominated by familiar names. Four candidates previously applied to fill Michael Scott’s seat. Vetress Boyce, owner of Boyce Enterprise Beauty Supply; Edward Ward, coordinator of Sustainable Community Schools program for Chicago Public Schools; Larry Nelson, a staffer for U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-7th); firefighter Drewone Goldsmith; and Creative Scott, owner of Creative Salon (no relation to the incumbent). Boyce, Nelson and Creative Scott previously ran for the seat, as did candidate Traci “Treasure” Johnson. The one new name on the ballot is Luther Woodruff.

Nurse and community activist Beverly Miles, who ran for the 28th Ward in 2019 and challenged Gov. J.B. Pritzker in the 2022 Democratic Party primary, is running again, and so is Shawn Walker, who ran for the seat in 2007. This is the first race for the U.S. Navy veteran Timothy Gladney.

Taliaferro ran for 11th Subcircuit judge earlier this year. After he lost to attorney Aileen Bhandari, he announced that he would run for re-election. While several community activists considered running for the seat, only three candidates submitted petitions: Corey Dooley-Johnson, a resource coordinator for Urban Initiatives at Faraday Elementary school; C.B. Johnson, head of Campaign for a Drugfree Westside; Republican 29th Ward Committeeperson Walter Adamczyk.

While community activist Tara Stamps, who ran against Mitts in the last two elections, is staying out of this race, West Humboldt Park Community Coalition founder Howard Ray is running. Preschool teacher Jake Towers and resident Corey Denelle Braddock are also running.

Police District Council races

The police district councils will act as intermediaries between the community and the police districts, holding monthly meetings to get resident input and help the police districts develop policing strategies.

They will also be responsible for choosing members of the citywide Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability. That commission will take over responsibility from the police board for developing a shortlist of police superintendent candidates and nominating heads of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

Five candidates are running for council for the 10th District, which includes the section of North Lawndale south of Roosevelt Road: Elianne Bahena, Leo Guzman, Simeon Henderson, Rosemarie Dominguez, Larry Lawrence and Kisha Smith.

The council for The 11th District, which includes all of West Garfield Park, the section of North Lawndale north of Roosevelt Road, the part of West Humboldt Park south of Division Street and most of East Garfield Park, also has five candidates: Tamiko Holt, Jocelyn Woodards, Brian J. Ramson, Alees Edwards and Martin Coffer.

The council for the 15th District, which encompasses the section of Austin south of Division Street, has seven candidates: Deondre Routes, Karen Winters, Oddis “O.J.” Johnson, Carmelita P. Earls, Darius Newsome, Constance Melton and Elena X. Thompson.

The council for the 25th District, which includes Galewood and other parts of Austin not in the 15th District, have five candidates: Saul Arellano, Pericles “Perry” Abbasi, Edgard “Edek” Esparza, Jacob Arena, Saul Arellano, Angelica P. Green.

Igor Studenkov is a winner of multiple Illinois Press Association awards for local government and business reporting. He has been contributing to Austin Weekly News since 2015. His work has also appeared...