Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), the current chair of the Chicago city council’s Black Caucus, won’t face any challengers in the Feb. 28 municipal election, while Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) will face two opponents rather than three.
On Jan. 20, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners completed its hearings on all objections against West Side candidates for alderman and police district councils. Two candidates facing Ervin were kicked off the ballot and one candidate withdrew. In the 29th Ward Republican Committeeperson Walter Adamczyk withdrew and the election board allowed Corey Dooley, a Resource Coordinator for Urban Initiatives at Faraday Elementary school, 3250 W. Monroe St., to say on the ballot. 27th Ward incumbent Ald. Walter Burnett didn’t have any opponents to begin with, and there were no challenges against any candidates running for 24th and 37th wards.
Adamczyk said he will run a write-in campaign and withdrew his formal candidacy to avoid legal fees.
This year will also mark the first time Chicagoans elect police councils. In the 11th District, which includes all of West Garfield Park and parts of North Lawndale, two of the five candidates were knocked off the ballot, which means that the remaining three will be elected by default. In the 15th and 25th district, which collectively include the entire Austin community, several candidates faced objections, but either the election board ruled in their favor or the objections were withdrawn.
Any registered voter living within the area a candidate seeks to represent can file an objection. Most of those challenges argue that the candidate didn’t submit enough valid signatures to qualify, but there have been other lines of objection.
In the 28th Ward, the ballot originally included four candidates – Erwin, 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, Shawn Walker, who ran for the seat in 2007, and U.S. Army veteran Timothy Gladney. All four had their petitions challenged. Retired Chicago Fire Department chief Carmelitta Earls, who is running for the 15th police district council, objected to Ervin’s candidacy, alleging that the alderman didn’t disclose all his assets in the Statement of Economic Interest all candidates must file. Resident Etta Johnson objected on the signature basis. Johnson’s objection was dismissed because she failed to appear at any of the hearings, while Earls’ objection was dismissed because the paperwork was filed incorrectly and, because she lives in the 37th Ward, she wasn’t qualified to file the objection to begin with.
Residents Emma Robinson and Charles Enter objected to all of Erwin’s opponents on valid signature grounds. According to Illinois State Board of Elections, Robinson made small, but regular contributions to the 28th Ward Democratic Organization, which Ervin heads in his capacity as the 28th Ward Democratic committeeperson, since 2014. When asked whether he played any role in the duo’s challenges, Ervin demurred.
“These are folks living the community,” he said. “They want to make sure things are done right and proper.”
Gladney withdrew his candidacy – because, he told Austin Weekly News, he was frustrated with an objection process that he felt was stacked against the challengers. Miles and Walker were kicked off the ballot.
In the 29th Ward, Jill R. Bush, property manager at Bush Properties who ran for 29th Ward alderman in 2011 and, according to election records, contributed $200 to Taliaferro’s unsuccessful 2022 campaign for Circuit Court judge, filed objections against Dooley-Johnson and Adamczyk. Aside from the signature requirements allegations against both candidates, Bush alleged that Dooley-Johnson isn’t registered to vote in Chicago and hasn’t lived in the 29th Ward for a year before the election. She subsequently withdrew those objections. In an interview with Austin Weekly News, Dooley-Johnson insisted that those allegations were false. The records examination found that his petitions had enough valid signatures to get him on the ballot.
In the 11th District police 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, Jacqueline M. Weatherspoon is objecting to two of the five candidates, Tamiko Holt, head of the Near West Side-based Okimat Construction company, and resident Martin Coffer.
The election board took Coffer off the ballot on the grounds that he never showed up at any of the hearings and allegedly resisted attempts to be served the notice. Holt was taken off the ballot because the board ruled that she didn’t have enough valid signatures. This means that the remaining three candidates – community engagement specialist Jocelyn Woodards, disability rights activist Alees Edwards and physicist Brian Ramson – are running for three spots.
In the 15th police district, which encompasses the section of Austin south of Division Street, Earls filed objections against most other people on the ballot – Elana Thompson, Darius Newsom, Karen Winters and former 29th Ward candidate Oddis “O.J.” Johnson. Former 29th Ward Ald. Isaac Carothers objected against Johnson’s candidacy on the grounds that the petition didn’t property identify the district where he was running. The election board ruled that Johnson followed the proper procedure.
Earl’s objections against Thompson, Newsom and Johnson were dismissed on similar grounds to her objection against Ervin – because the petition didn’t have the required legal language. Her objection against Thompson was also dismissed because Thompson was never properly served. Earls withdrew her objection against Winters on Dec. 17.
In the 25th Police District, which includes Galewood and other parts of Austin north of Division, Thomas Simmons, founder of the Citizens for a Better Westside who ran in 29th Ward in 2015, objected to resident Jacob Arena on the signature basis. Simmons withdrew his objection on Dec. 15, 2022.