With 97.2 percent of the vote reported, Garza had 5,472 votes, or 50 percent, while Pope had 49.9 percent, or 5,465 votes.
Garza was surprised by her slim, seven-vote lead at 11 p.m. on Tuesday. She expected a decisive win against the incumbent. Pope was elected to serve the residents of South Chicago, East Side, Hegewisch, The Bush and South Deering in 1999.
Howard Ludwig was at both campaign headquarters:
Nevertheless, Garza was confident that the night would end in a victory. She said the final, unreported precinct was in an area that voted strongly against Pope in the Feb. 24 election.
"There are so many good things that came from the 10th Ward contest," Garza said.
She said the Southeast Side ward is made up of 17 different neighborhoods — all divided by race, economic status or both.
Patricia Rodriguez of South Chicago agreed with Garza's assessment of the community. Both were all smiles at the post-election party at Crow Bar on the East Side.
"A lot of us don't like each other. We all came together for her," said Rodriguez, who was raised in The Bush. "I've known her for 15 years. She never ceases to amaze me."
Pope is a lifelong resident of the ward on the Southeast Side of Chicago. He served as an assistant to former Mayor Richard M. Daley before he was elected alderman.
Garza is a Chicago Public Schools counselor at Jane Addams Elementary in the East Side neighborhood. Her father, Edward Sadlowski, is the former director of United Steel Workers of America Local 65 who fought to bring democratic reform to labor unions.
Robert Chico of South Chicago stood outside the Gallistel Language Academy in the East Side for 13 hours on Tuesday campaigning for Pope.
He said the polls were busy throughout the day, despite the cold, wet weather. He believes many voters were drawn into the election in anticipation of a tight race.
"There were people that I was seeing that I don't think would have come out otherwise," Chico said.
His relative, Monica Chico, lives near the piles of petcoke on the Southeast Side that were much debated throughout the 10th Ward election. She said the black dust that once covered her home and garage has subsided in recent months.
Monica Chico said that was part of the reason she supported Pope. She also said improvements to roads and schools swayed her support toward the incumbent.
"I anticipated a close race," said Chris Anderson, another campaign worker for Pope.
"Every vote counts," he said.
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