• Michael McDevitt
    MAR 16, 2023

    La Spata wins second term as Taliaferro, Gardiner unable to avoid runoffs

    From top left, Ald. Daniel La Spata, Ald. Jim Gardiner and Ald. Chris Taliaferro and from bottom left, Sam Royko, Megan Mathias and CB Johnson. (courtesy photos) 

    Fourteen aldermanic races are set to be decided with a runoff election on April 4, according to official election results published by the Chicago Board of Elections Wednesday.

    Ald. Daniel La Spata (1) eked out a win over attorney Sam Royko to avoid a runoff and become the fifth and final City Council member backed by the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America chapter to retain his seat.   

    Related: City Council candidates backed by Democratic Socialists Chicago chapter see mixed success after election 

    “I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the 1st Ward for four more years and profoundly humbled by the sacrifices so many made to get me here,” La Spata said in a news release. 

    The incumbent alderman won a second term with just over 50.1 percent of the vote in a contest that came down to mail-in ballots postmarked before the polls closed Feb. 28 but processed over the two weeks following the election. 

    At the close of Election Day polling places, it looked like La Spata would be heading to a runoff against Royko after the incumbent had only earned 49 percent of the vote.

    “I want to commend Alderman La Spata on a hard-fought race, it was decided by a handful of votes – a reminder that every vote matters,” Royko said in a statement Wednesday. Royko finished with 23.4 percent of the vote in the four-way race.

    Two other closely watched races are also headed to runoffs. Despite hovering above the 50 percent threshold last week, Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29) will not be able to avoid a runoff against CB Johnson, the CEO of Campaign For a Drug Free Westside.

    While Taliaferro had earned about 51 percent of the vote after polls closed on Election Day, his lead dwindled as mail-in ballots were counted and he finished with more than 49.7 percent of the vote — still the lead vote-getter but short of an outright win.

    Johnson earned more than 39.8 percent of the vote in the three-way race that also included two write-in candidates. Johnson could not be reached for comment.

    Taliaferro told The Daily Line he believes his office has done a lot to earn the support of voters who supported other candidates in the first round and said he looks forward to earning that support.

    “I think we've really focused on doing our very best to decrease crime [and] reduce the time that city resources are coming to our neighborhoods and our communities,” Taliaferro said.   

    In the 45th Ward, Ald. Jim Gardiner (45) will face Megan Mathias, a member of Belding Elementary’s local school council, in a runoff after Gardiner finished with 48 percent of the vote in the six-way race. Mathias finished with more than 16.8 percent. 

    Gardiner and Mathias could not be reached for comment.

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