It’s Democratic establishment vs. progressives in two North Side ward runoffs
A housing organizer faces a Walgreens executive in the 46th Ward. In the 48th, a housing developer backed by the outgoing alderperson is running against a small business owner who would be the first Filipina on the City Council.
The runoff election in the North Side’s 46th Ward has intensified, with one candidate attacking the other for being “concerned about headlines,” while that candidate responds that her opponent is “beholden” to “outside sources.”
Angela Clay, a housing organizer who ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2019, finished first on Feb. 28 with 36%. In the April 4 runoff, Clay faces Kim Walz, a Walgreens regional director for state and local government relations, who received about 26% on Feb. 28.
The incumbent, Ald. James Cappleman, 70, announced last year he would not run again.
A similar race has developed in the adjacent 48th Ward, though with less bickering.
On Feb. 28, Joe Dunne, an affordable housing developer, got 26% of the votes, compared to 23% for Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth in the race to succeed retiring Ald. Harry Osterman, 55.
Walz and Dunne are each backed by labor unions and more established Democrats. Clay and Manaa-Hoppenworth are supported by progressive organizations and by mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson.
The runoff election is April 4.
46th Ward: Unlimited spending and financial mishaps
The 46th Ward race is the only aldermanic runoff in which the Illinois State Board of Elections has lifted campaign contribution limits, a ruling issued March 21 because total expenditures in support of Walz and in opposition to Clay surpassed the $100,000 limit.
That spending, along with contributions from housing development companies made to Walz’s campaign, has Clay cherishing what she’s raised — more than $200,000 from “people, teachers, nurses, regular neighbors who don’t have large bankrolls to just throw at a campaign.”
The bulk of Clay’s funding has come from the Chicago Teachers Union, Illinois Nurses Association and the Service Employees International Union.
Walz touts her 20-plus years of experience in government, as well as in the nonprofit and private sectors.
“I think experience matters,” said Walz, 47, who was U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley’s chief of staff both in Congress and when Quigley was a Cook County commissioner. She’s endorsed by Quigley, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky.
“We’re going to have a new mayor … at least 14 or 15 new members of the City Council, and if you bring in all new members who are concerned about headlines and fighting and not concerned about the task at hand, we’re not going to get anything done for four years,” Walz said.
Clay, 31, helped start an alliance for education and racial justice at age 14, has served as president of a non-profit housing organization and is on the local school council of Brennemann Elementary.
But Clay’s campaign recently took two blows, first reported by Crain’s Chicago Business. She failed to disclose nearly $42,000 in federal Paycheck Protection Program loans to a hair products business she owns, Pink Ribbon Hair. She filed a revised statement of economic interest form with the Chicago Board of Ethics.
She also has an outstanding $18,450 IRS lien, filed against her in 2018 for unpaid taxes, penalties and interest.
Clay “made an honest mistake on her statement of economic interest form” and corrected it when it was brought to her attention, her campaign manager Emily Isaacson, told the Sun-Times.
“Like many other small business owners, Angela faced many obstacles in staying afloat during the pandemic,” said Isaacson. She called it “an-all-too common experience for working-class Chicagoans and a core part of why Angela is running for alderwoman: to increase economic stability and opportunity for working families.”
As for the IRS lien, Clay had filed her taxes with a professional “who, unfortunately, made a filing error,” Isaacson said, and notifications were sent to a previous address.
“Once this issue was brought to her attention, she immediately jumped on it with her current accountant and the lien is in the process of being withdrawn.”
The 46th Ward includes Buena Park, Uptown and Lakeview East.
48th Ward: Same direction, or time for change?
Meanwhile, Dunne, 50, and Manaa-Hoppenworth, 53, finished 534 votes apart, out of more than 15,000 cast, on Feb. 28.
Dunne, backed by Osterman and former 48th Ward Ald. Mary Ann Smith, views the runoff as a fresh start. He replaced his campaign manager with Erika Caldwell, who worked for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reelection campaign.
“I’ve run into people who believe I’ve already won because they didn’t understand the runoff process or just weren’t aware of it,” Dunne said, adding that he brought in a new campaign manager, “so we’ve ramped up our staff and we’re upping our game.”
Manaa-Hoppenworth would be the first Filipina alderperson on the City Council. She said the ward, which includes Andersonville, Edgewater and Uptown, needs an alderperson who reflects its diversity.
“I’m talking to mothers who are walking their kids to school, asking me to please save a date so that I can talk to their Girl Scout troop because they want to hear why I wanted to run,” Manaa-Hoppenworth said. “It’s exciting for young girls to see someone like me, a mother of three children to run for local office, to be involved in a level that not enough women and women of color and queer women of color are represented in.”