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Brian Hopkins Wins 2nd Ward, Plans Office on 'West Side' of Sprawling Ward

By Alisa Hauser | April 7, 2015 8:58pm | Updated on April 7, 2015 10:53pm

CHICAGO — Brian Hopkins has won the race to become alderman of the 2nd Ward.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Hopkins captured 56.3 percent of the vote, beating Alyx Pattison, who garnered 43.7 percent.

"Now we know, it takes two [elections] to win in 2," said Hopkins, standing next to his wife, Colleen, at an election night party The Westin, 909 N. Michigan Ave. 

Hopkins with his wife, Colleen, and supporters. (DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser)

The former chief of staff to Cook County Commissioner John Daley was joined by 175 supporters.

"It was a tough campaign, it was a hard-fought campaign. I don't want to be known as a sore winner I'd much rather be known as a winner from SOAR," he said, referring to the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, a neighborhood group the Streeterville resident previously led and where many of his supporters came from.

In addition to his wife and his mother, Hopkins thanked several supporters, including Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) and former 2nd Ward challengers Bita Buenrostro, Cornell Wilson and Steve Niketopoulos who endorsed him.

"I feel honored and humbled to have been elected in a ward like the 2nd against a field where everyone had so much to offer. Any one of the [other] candidates could be elected as an alderman in any ward anywhere in the city," Hopkins said.

DNAinfo/Tanveer Ali

The ward looks like a horseshoe, as it covers parts of the Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Ukrainian Village, Wicker Park and Bucktown.

At the victory party after polls closed, the supporters came from all over the gerrymandered ward.

"The important thing isn't the geography; it's the people within that arbitrary boundary. My message to the people on the west side of the ward is that I love you, too," Hopkins said.

We think the 2nd ward looks like a lobster.

After his speech, Hopkins told DNAinfo Chicago that he plans to open his aldermanic office in the western portion of the 2nd ward, likely near Damen Avenue and Augusta Boulevard, though a lease has not been signed yet.

The first of six contenders to put his name in the hat for the position back in November 2013, Hopkins, who even moved his family in order to live in the "New 2," said he "knows how to do the job" of an alderman.

Both Hopkins and Pattison voted for incumbent mayor Rahm Emanuel, who also retained his seat in Tuesday's runoff.

As they did on the eve of the Feb. 24 election, Hopkins and Pattison ran into each other at Ukrainian Village's Columbus Elementary School, a polling spot, and posed for a photo together around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Pattison was not immediately available for comment late Tuesday.

Ross Gambril, owner of DeWitt Place Hotel, an 82-room boutique hotel at 900 DeWitt Place at the corner of Delaware and DeWitt, was among Hopkins' supporters.

"He knows how the city works and knows how to work within the city and that's what it takes to get things done in Chicago. You can't ever buck the system and hope to get anywhere; you have to understand how the system works," DeWitt said.

Neal McKnight, a former president of the East Village Association, said Hopkins will provide "a voice for the neighborhood," particularly in development issues.

Anne Shaw, who narrowly lost to Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) in a hotly contested 1st Ward election in February, said that she was happy to see Hopkins win.

“Brian and I started [campaigning] around the same time and I was a big supporter of him from the start. I knew how difficult this ward would be and he is a very smart man. A lot of people in East Village were excited to see me throw my weight behind him,” Shaw said.

Pat Cohen, a longtime Streeterville resident who lives in the John Hancock building, said she "admires [Hopkins] a great deal."

"I am so happy he was elected to represent me and my neighbors," Cohen said.

Alisa Hauser breaks down the results:

Hopkins at a debate Ukrainian Village (DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser)

Both Hopkins and Pattison's campaigns were skilled at racking up contributions ahead of the runoff.

Hopkins' campaign fund had $76,894.28 at the close of the third quarter on Dec. 31. Between then and Tuesday, he had raised an additional $257,445.67 from over 80 individual contributions, records show.

Some of Hopkins' largest supporters were Citizens for Reilly, which contributed $37,281.14 for two mailings; the Chicago Association of Realtors, which contributed $5,000; and the Ritz Carlton Hotel, which kicked in $10,000.

Pattison had $134,921.08 in her campaign coffers at the close of the third quarter on Dec. 31. Between then and Tuesday, her campaign had raised an additional $191,435.22 from 75 individual contributions.

Some of Pattison's biggest backers were SEIU Illinois Council PAC Fund, a workers union, which supplied her largest contribution of $52,600; AFSCME No. 31, another union, which contributed $12,500; and Classic Tickets Inc., which gave $10,000, records show.

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