Democratic ward committeepersons whose wards fall within the state Senate’s 5th District will meet on Aug. 15 at 1 p.m. at Plumbers Local 130 union hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd., to appoint a replacement for State Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, who resigned in late July.

The district spans most of East Garfield Park, North Lawndale and West Garfield Park, a few sections of Austin and West Humboldt Park, as well as the entire Near West Side community area and parts of Near North Side, West Town and Wicker Park. Each committeeperson’s vote is the equivalent of how many voters within their ward voted for Van Pelt in 2022. According to a Politico estimate, the West Side committeepersons would, in theory, hold the slim majority of the vote. Ald. Walter Burnett (27th), holds the largest share of the vote at 24.7%, while Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) holds 16.1%. The 24th Ward committeeperson, a seat last held by former Ald. Michael Scott, gets 12.5% of the vote, but according to the selection committee press release, the seat is currently vacant. 

According to Politico, State Rep. Lakesia Collins (9th) has applied for the seat, as did State Rep. Jawaharial “Omar” Williams (10th), who is Burnett’s stepson. 

The appointee must be a registered voter who lives in the 5th District.  Applicants have until Aug. 11 to send a resume and a cover letter to The Aug. 15 meeting will be open to the public, but the decisions are usually made during closed sessions after the public interviews.

The appointee will need to win the November 2024 election to keep their seat.  

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...