Colon’s two challengers – Illinois Tollroad worker Miguel Sotomayor and lawyer Nancy Schiavone – split the remaining votes. Sotomayor, who ran four years ago, earned 24.8 percent of the vote, while Schiavone got 24.2 percent, according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
Colon did not return phone calls Tuesday night, but four days before the election the alderman said he’d be grateful if he could avoid what he called another “painful runoff,” referring to the runoff election he won in 2007.
He managed to do that.
Had Colon earned anything less than 50.1 percent, or 4379 votes, he would have been forced into a runoff with Sotomayor.
As a political newcomer, Schiavone said although she lost, her first election night as a candidate was still a positive experience.
“The fact that we did an extremely grassroots campaign and got to almost 25 percent of the vote is amazing. It’s amazing,” Schiavone said during a phone interview just after the election results came in.
But Schiavone did not have such positive words for her opponents whom she said resorted to “machine politics.” She said the Sotomayor campaign sent out “scathing emails about me that aren’t true.”
While she said she wouldn’t resort to “pulling tricks,” Schiavone admitted it’s tempting.
“I stuck to the legislation and the facts. I wonder if I hadn’t done that, if I’d be in the runoff with Rey,” she said.
Kevin Lamm, campaign manager for Sotomayor, said the aldermanic hopeful wasn’t as upbeat as Schiavone.
“Most of the people here are in a bit of disbelief,” Lamm said, referring to Sotomayor’s campaign staff.
When asked if he thought Sotomayor would try a third time to beat the alderman, Lamm played coy.
“At this point, I’m sure he’s just decompressing after a long, really tough, not just a day, but a campaign,” Lamm said.
Four years ago, Colon had to get voters to the polls twice because he earned 46 percent of the vote, and subsequently beat former 35th Ward Ald. Vilma Colom in the runoff.
The 2007 race resulted in a runoff election that became heated as Colom made unconfirmed allegations about Rey Colon’s past.
Colom, once a protege of 33rd Ward Ald. Richard Mell, was ousted from her position by Colon’s first win in 2003.