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Four aldermanic candidates in 21ST Ward off the ballot

Four candidates running for alderman in the 21st Ward in the city elections in February are gone from the election ballot after intense weeks of the ballot challenging round at the Chicago Board of Elections.

In the mayoral race, Johnny Logalbo was removed after failing to have the required 12,500 valid signatures from registered voters in Chicago. There are now 10 candidates in the mayoral race, including eight Blacks.

On Wednesday, January 4, Alderman Raymond Lopez announced his endorsement of mayoral candidate and businessman Willie Wilson. The endorsement came on the first day incumbent Lori Lightfoot began running negative political ads about Chuy Garcia, whom polls suggest will beat her in a runoff.

In the aldermanic races in Black wards, the challenge rounds are intense.

There were 14 aldermanic candidates in the 21st Ward who submitted petition signatures by the November 28 deadline. Today, the field is down to 11, and more may be knocked off the ballot before Early Voting begins January 19.

The aldermanic race in the predominately Black 21st Ward, where incumbent Howard Brookins is leaving after 20 years in office, has experienced the most competitive of the challenge rounds in the city’s 17 Black wards.

After weeks of hearings and arguments, a total of 20 challenges are still pending in the Black wards as of December 30. Three candidates were removed from the ballot, and five candidates withdrew their campaigns.

In the 21st Ward, which absorbed most of the 34th Ward during the city’s remap process, a total of seven challenges have rocked the challenge round. As a result, four candidates were taken off the ballot after three withdrew from the race and one was removed.

Gone are Bernard “BK” Kelly, who was removed from the ballot after officials upheld a challenge that he did not have enough valid signatures. Candidates Tawana J. Robinson, Nekoiya Washington and Aziza T. Butler dropped out of the race after facing objections from lawyers.

The candidates who still face challenges as they seek to replace Brookins are Justin Sawyer, Lawaco Toe and Patricia Tillman.

Another Black ward where the challenging is intense is the 6th Ward, where incumbent Roderick Sawyer is running for mayor to unseat Lori Lightfoot.

Thirteen candidates entered the race but 12 remain after Steve DeJoie was removed from the ballot after attorneys for his opponents argued that signatures were forgeries and invalid. Curtiss S. Llong Bey, Paul C. Bryson, Sr., and Sharon E. Pincham still have pending challenges against their petition signatures.

In the 3rd Ward, political candidates Don Davis, Alan Sargon “Al” Rasho and Jasmine Roberson face objections as incumbent Pat Dowell remains unchallenged.

There are 12 candidates seeking to replace outgoing 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston. Lawyers for businessman Kris Levi are challenging candidates Adrienne Irmer and Marlene Fisher.

In the 7th Ward, Jocilyn Floyd and Tony Blair face challenges as they seek to unseat incumbent Greg Mitchell.

In the 16th Ward, incumbent Stephanie Coleman’s petition signatures remain unchallenged, while opponents Dr. Carolynn Denise Crump, Otis Woods and Eddie Johnson III, face a hearing over their petition signatures.

Candidates in the 17th, 18th, 24th and 27th Wards have no pending challenges against them. Incumbents David Moore (17th) and Walter Burnett (27th) are running unopposed in their re-election bids.

In the mayoral race, Alderman Lopez said he endorsed Wilson to unite Chicago.

“He will be a mayor that respects and unites ethnic neighborhoods all across Chicago,” he said.

Lopez ran for mayor but dropped out after he was unable to match some of his rivals in fundraising. In November, Lopez said that his decision to drop out of the race against Lightfoot was “for the good of the city” because “a crowded field only serves to benefit the mayor. Lightfoot must be defeated to save Chicago.”

He ended up running for a third term in the 15th Ward. A vocal supporter of Chicago police, Lopez has been criticized for his harsh rhetoric on crime.

Lopez has also been a frequent critic of Lightfoot in her first term as the city’s first Black female mayor.

Asked why he endorsed Wilson instead of one of the other challengers, Lopez said he has worked extensively with Wilson even when it wasn’t campaign season. Lopez noted that Wilson gave masks away to his constituents and police at the start of the pandemic.

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