News

Foot Soldiers

January 30, 2007

Kevin Robinson, Chicagoist.com

Two aldermanic races that are shaping up to be real contests in the city have drawn a lot of attention not only from locals, but also from organizations that would like to put a dent in Daley’s grip on the city. Two higher-profile candidates, Greg Brewer and Scott Waguespack, have gotten endorsements from labor groups that are itching for a fight with the mayor and his allies on the council.

In the 32nd Ward, things aren’t looking bright for Ted Matlak, with accusations of city workers knocking on doors, on city time, and doing other campaign work. Further complicating this for Steady Teddy are past contributions his campaign accepted from contractors caught up in the Hired Truck scandal. Waguespack is working hard to connect Matlak to both the Hired Truck scandal and convicted water department honcho Donald Tomczak. Ward residents are already largely convinced that Matlak is an ineffective idiot that can’t run the ward right. If Waguespack can’t pull this one out, we’ll be stunned.

In the 50th Ward, Bernie Stone and his ward heels are accused of taking down Brewer’s campaign signs (not an unusual tactic in ward races). Throw Naisy Dolar and Salman Aftab into the mix, along with changing demographics in the ward, and you have a situation ripe for an April runoff, if the opposition plays their cards right.

Both Waguespack and Brewer also stand to benefit from endorsements by labor unions angry with Daley. While Matlak and Stone might be able to fire up the old machines that they or their predecessors built, unions like SEIU, the Teamsters and AFSCME can turn out their members in droves when they decide to get behind a candidate. That should have both Stone and Matlak worried about the security of their jobs (and in Stone’s case, the future of his daughter’s seat on the city council).