A rapper and the son of a late Chicago mayor may face runoffs
By mark konkol
Feb 23, 2011 01:30AM
Chicago 7th Ward Alderman Sandi Jackson talks with James Jackson in her Ward office, Election day, Tuesday, February 22, 2011. | John H. White~Sun-Times
An award-winning rapper and the son of a late Chicago mayor picked up just enough support Tuesday to force incumbent aldermen into an April runoff election.
Che “Rhymefest” Smith — who co-wrote Kanye West’s Grammy Award-winning hit “Jesus Walks” — got 20 percent of the vote with 100 percent of precincts reporting in the 20th Ward. That was enough to set up a showdown with Ald. Willie Cochran, who received 46 percent of the vote in a five-candidate field.
Smith said he thinks some voters may have been confused by the “other” Smith on the ballot — Andre Smith, who got 15 percent of the vote. George Davis came in third place with 16 percent of the vote.
“A lot of people didn’t vote for Cochran. People want change, and those who voted for Andre and George Davis will join up with me for change,” Che Smith said. “I’m having a revolution of love. We want the 20th Ward to be a village again.”
Cochran said Tuesday he was “disappointed that we didn’t finish it off,” but predicted victory in April.
“We’re going to make sure there will be no question in the future,” he said.
In the 6th Ward, Roderick Sawyer, son of former Mayor Eugene Sawyer, picked up 25 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting. That was apparently enough to force Ald. Freddrenna Lyle, who got 45 percent of the vote, into a head-to-head showdown.
“I’m happy to be alive to fight another day. Now, we need to attract those people who are dissatisfied with [Lyle] and try to capitalize on that,” Sawyer said. Chicago Police Officer Richard Wooten had 20 percent of the vote. Lyle said her opponents put out negative mailings and stole or destroyed thousands of signs.
“This was the dirtiest campaign I’ve ever been on,” Lyle said. “Now I focus on Sawyer. Now, I know this will be an unethical campaign because it’s been an unethical campaign so far.”
In the 21st Ward, Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. bested his family friend, Sheldon Sherman, whose father is a former alderman, to apparently avoid a runoff election. Brookins got 56 percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
“It seems I’ve been vindicated. People in the ward wanted Wal-Mart. They like my stances when I have spoken out against the mayor or the unions,” Brookins said. “I think we can finally close the door on that chapter and move on to something else.”
In the 7th Ward, Ald. Sandi Jackson also had an outright win over rival Darcel Beavers, daughter of former 7th Ward Ald. William Beavers. Jackson got 53 percent of the vote with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
Beavers came in second in the six-candidate field with 26 percent of the vote.
“This was a hard-fought campaign, but tonight the people of the 7th Ward spoke and spoke clearly,” Jackson said. “The 7th Ward moved forward and not backward.”
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