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Scott Waguespack Wins 32nd Ward, Hopes Mayoral Runoff Will Embolden Voters

By  Patty Wetli and Ariel Cheung | February 24, 2015 8:25pm 

 Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) with one of two sons in Holstein Park.
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) with one of two sons in Holstein Park.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

ROSCOE VILLAGE — Incumbent Ald. Scott Waguespack won reelection in the 32nd Ward race Tuesday night over challenger Elise Doody-Jones.

With 88 percent of precincts reporting, Waguespack carried 79.3 percent of votes, with Doody-Jones getting 20.7 percent of votes.

Waguespack, a member of City Council's progressive caucus, had one of the highest leads in contested aldermanic races, with 47th Ward incumbent Ald. Ameya Pawar topping him with 82.8 percent of votes in his ward as of 10 p.m. Tuesday.

"I think the direction our ward is going in is one that a lot of people in the city are pretty happy with," Waguespack told DNAinfo Chicago late Tuesday.

As for plans for his third term as alderman, Waguespack said he is "staying focused" on improving his ward, which includes all or parts of Bucktown, Logan Square, Lincoln Park, Lakeview and Roscoe Village.

"People expect me to be better, and that's what I'm going to do," Waguespack said. "Affordable housing is going to be a big issue, especially in Logan Square. I think the issue of services and making sure we're coordinating better with some of the city departments is also important."

Waguespack, who was targeted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's political action committee, said he hoped people would be "emboldened" by the mayoral runoff. Emanuel was locked at a 45 percent lead for much of Tuesday evening, forcing him into an April 7 runoff election against Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

"I was surprised (Emanuel) was down at 45 (percent); I thought he'd be a lot closer to 50," Waguespack said. "That sends an even stronger message that people aren't satisfied."

As for Waguespack's challenger, Doody-Jones said she understood from the start winning as a first-time candidate was "a long shot."

"That's the realistic truth. But if you don't get on the ballot, you can't get elected," Doody-Jones said late Tuesday. "I wish I had started sooner; I found many frustrated residents, but unfortunately it was too late."

Doody-Jones, a day care provider and former campaign director for Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), said she felt it was important to run to give the voters a choice, even if she was the underdog.

"Democracy is not served when we only have one name on the ballot. We always, always need to challenge our incumbents just to keep them on our toes," she said.

As to whether she would run in a future election, Doody-Jones said she would have to reassess, but didn't rule it out.

"If I were do to this again, it would be with much more time on my side, which is a big sacrifice for any candidate," she said. "It takes time and energy — the whole nine yards — to be able to put not just yourself out there, but your entire family."

Check out our full 2015 Aldermanic Election guide for more info on the candidates in this and other ward races.

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