After months of campaigning, Timothy Cullerton – who was the 38th Ward alderman appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley just three months ago – can finally take interim off his title.
A race that began with eight candidates was narrowed down to Cullerton and Tom Caravette in last Tuesday’s runoff. Cullerton, a retired city buildings inspector, beat Caravette, a real estate broker, winning 60.2 percent of the 7,832 votes cast, while Caravette garnered 39.7 percent, according to the preliminary results complied by the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners.
The results were different in the Feb. 22 election, when Caravette got 300 fewer votes than he did on Tuesday.
Cullerton and Caravette were the top two candidates, but there was a gap between them. Since none of the eight candidates on the earlier ballot won more than 50.1 percent of the votes, 38th Ward voters came to the polls a second time.
“I’ll tell you what, I feel relieved that it’s finally done and thankful to the residents of the ward for electing me,” Cullerton said Tuesday night.
Caravette didn’t return calls.
In the past few weeks, Cullerton has pointed out over 130 violations Caravette has received over the years on various rental properties he owns in the ward and elsewhere. The candidates met in several candidate forums which were testy at times, and both campaigns sent a blitz of mailings to voters in the Northwest ward, a ward that has been represented by a Cullerton since the Great Chicago Fire.
Caravette, who was endorsed by the Chicago Sun Times, invited the public to come to the buildings in question and see for themselves whether the accusations of rats, roaches and unsafe conditions were true.
“My properties are the gems of the ward,” Caravette said at one debate, held Feb. 24 at Luther North High School. The accusations from Cullerton fly in this video from Progress Illinois:
“I don’t think the site helped me as much as it hurt [Caravette],” Cullerton said.
Cullerton also received several significant endorsements. He was endorsed by the Chicago Tribune, For A Better Chicago PAC, Cook County Sherriff Tom Dart, the Fraternal Order of Police, and many other politicians.
With the election and runoff behind him, Kurt Gonska, Cullerton’s campaign manager, said Cullerton is looking forward to focusing on “what he loves doing–being the alderman and serving the community.”
While the eight other new aldermen elected in Tuesday’s runoff have until May 16 to take over, Cullerton can do it now.
“It’s time to fix the potholes and street lights in the ward,” Cullerton said. “I spoke with Mayor-elect Rahm Emmanuel, and I am excited to work with him and the city council to move our city forward.”