Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA

Ald. Burke, Tunney Hold On To Seats As Other Incumbent Face Steep Losses

February 26, 2019 - 11:14 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Tuesday night's elections brought shockers and tight races across the board, securing a seat for one of the most powerful politicians in Chicago despite his corruption charges and toppling other, long-time aldermen from their posts.

Beleagured Ald. Ed Burke swept 14th Ward elections Tuesday night despite federal corruption charges that dogged him during his campaign. He brought home more than 54 percent of the vote. Tanya Patino came in second, with more than 29 percent, while Jaime Guzman trailed with more than 16 percent of the ward's votes.

Alderman Ed Burke told reporters he feels especially fortunate, given the results from other aldermanic races in the city.

"It does make me feel even better," he said.

Burke, 75, was charged in January with trying to shake down a fast-food restaurant seeking city remodeling permits. He is charged with one count of attempted extortion for conveying to company executives in 2017 that they'd get the permits if they signed on as clients at Burke's private property-tax law firm in Chicago.

He is one of the last of the old Chicago machine politicians, and has been on the council for 50 years. Burke has chaired its finance committee for the past three decades.

In other shakeups and close calls:

  • 1st Ward newcomer Daniel La Spata unseated Proco ''Joe'' Moreno, who has held the seat since 2010, although both men have been plagued by scandals.
  • 44th Ward's Ald. Tom Tunney will hang on to the seat he has held since 2003. He had been locked in a battle with Cubs CEO Tom Ricketts. Tunney has said he fought with the team over closing streets on game days, opening a plaza where people can drink outside and other issues.
  • Ald. John Arena, who represented the 45th Ward since 2011, was knocked out by challenger James Gardiner, a Chicago firefighter and CPS special education teacher. 
  • On the Far North Side Ald. Joe Moore,of the 49th Ward, trailed  Maria Hadden, who was backed by the Chicago Teachers Union.