BRIDGEPORT — Patrick Daley Thompson is the latest Daley going to work at City Hall after beating challenger John Kozlar in the 11th Ward runoff Tuesday night.
Thompson drew nearly 58 percent of the aldermanic vote with all precincts reporting Tuesday. He entered his campaign party to a room full of "PDT" chants at Laborers' International Union Hall after the race was called.
"We talked about change, and he's going to bring about change," said Cook County Commissioner John P. Daley, Thompson's uncle.
David Matthews breaks down the results and Thompson's plans:
Thompson said he doubled down on campaign efforts after being forced to a runoff against Kozlar in February's election. By listening more, he said he grew to greater understand the diversity of the South Side ward, which includes all or parts of Bridgeport, Canaryville, Pilsen and University Village.
"This victory is about the entire 11th Ward," Thompson said. "The mayor often talks about Chicago being the most American of American cities, and the 11th is the most American of wards."
Though he went by Patrick D. Thompson in campaign materials, Thompson didn't shy too much from his Daley relatives who have controlled Chicago for decades. He said those relatives, as well as other established pols including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and state Sen. Tony Munoz (D-1st), stressed listening to constituents indeed does make for a long career in the city's politics.
"I'm very proud of my family's commitment to public service, and I look forward to starting my own career here," Thompson said.
It's unclear when Thompson will start, but he could get to City Hall earlier than other new aldermen. Ald. James Balcer (11th) announced Tuesday he is retiring at the end of the month, but Thompson himself wasn't sure if he'd be sworn in before the formal city council turnover in May.
Either way, Thompson already has ideas for the ward. He plans to court new businesses to key commercial corridors including Halsted Street and Archer Avenue, as well as redeveloping the vacant Stock Yard Banks building in Canaryville. He said he embraces the burgeoning arts scene in Pilsen as "an integral part of the ward," and has an affinity for University Village as a Saint Ignatius College Prep alumnus.
"The runoff gave me another six weeks to go door-to-door and we're going to continue that," he said.
Though many political observers expect a property tax increase to be proposed at City Hall soon, Thompson said he wasn't sure he would support the measure, saying it's not his "first place to go" find new city revenue. However, he did express openness to a casino in Chicago, as well as expanding the city's sales tax to service industries such as nail salons.
Patrick Daley Thompson addresses supporters after his victory:
Kozlar, a 26-year-old law student who also leads the Canaryville Little League, forced a runoff against Thompson by casting himself as a City Hall outsider during the campaign. Kozlar captured 35 percent of the ward vote in February's election and prevented the Daley scion from winning the aldermanic office outright. Kozlar said at his campaign party Tuesday that his team gave the race everything it could.
"At the end of the day, we gave it 110 percent," he said.
Thompson, a Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner and nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, then deployed more of his superior war chest and campaigned at events with political allies, including U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, in an effort to establish himself as the more experienced candidate. Thompson headed into Tuesday's election with a commanding 27-point lead over Kozlar in the South Side race, according to a recent Ogden & Fry poll conducted for political news website Aldertrack.
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