[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he 31st Ward incumbent alderman looked reach to contest the results favoring his challenger on Wednesday.
“Now the tense part of watching the results roll in….so much hard work by so many people…Thank you all,” said a post on the Santiago campaign’s Facebook page, ahead of the results on Tuesday night.
After a contentious runoff election that saw a heated debate and accusations of foul play, incumbent Ald. Regner “Ray” Suarez lost to his opponent Milagros “Milly” Santiago for the 31st Ward seat. Even though it was a tight race for most of the evening the incumbent alderman couldn’t beat Santiago’s 50.80 percent of the vote.
Yet while Santiago gave her victory speech at the Logan Square Auditorium Chicago’s vice mayor Suarez, a six-term incumbent, did not concede the race on Tuesday night.
“Our attorneys will be involved,” said Cook County Democratic Party Chairman Joseph Berrios at Suarez’s campaign night event at Lazo’s Tacos, 2009 N. Western Ave. “This will not be decided tonight,”
Santiago, a former reporter and first time candidate, won thanks to a hard fought campaign supported by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez. Her platforms focused on improving public education and increased public safety. She also refuted Suarez’s claims that the ward was safer and schools had improved, claiming that most changes were only superficial in nature.
In the weeks leading up to the election Suarez said crime was reduced in the ward by 27 percent and lauded a redevelopment plan for the old Marshall’s Field building that he said will bring in 1,600 jobs without using any TIF assistance. Yet these achievements weren’t enough to win over voters at the polls on Tuesday.