THE LOOP — Incumbent aldermen benefited across the board from absentee ballots processed and counted Thursday in five races still considered too close to call.
Aldermen Howard Brookins Jr. (21st) and Toni Foulkes (15th) both padded their leads, as Foulkes attempts to switch wards and represent the 16th. Aldermen John Pope (10th) and Ray Suarez (31st) cut into their deficits, and Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) reclaimed first place in a race that has already seen two lead changes since election night Tuesday.
It figures to be a long fortnight for candidates in those races as the Board of Election Commissioners releases daily counts of absentee ballots. By law, the board has to wait two weeks for absentee ballots postmarked by April 6 to make their way through the mail. The last ballots will be counted April 21, with the results set to be certified and proclaimed April 23.
According to board spokesman Jim Allen, Thursday's figures reflected ballots received Monday and Tuesday. An end-of-the-week count was expected to be released Friday from ballots received Wednesday and perhaps Thursday.
Foulkes drew 53 votes Thursday to 21 for her challenger, Stephanie Coleman. Her 112-vote lead grew to 144.
Brookins added 129 absentee votes to 59 for challenger Marvin McNeil, giving him a 276-vote cushion.
Pope added 83 votes Thursday to challenger Susan Sadlowski Garza's 38, reducing her lead to 44 votes.
Suarez added 86 to Milly Santiago's 45, cutting her lead from 129 to 88.
And in the 43rd Ward, which had the third-most requests for absentee ballots in the city, Smith added 342 votes Thursday to 267 for Caroline Vickrey, swinging the lead to Smith by 69 votes.
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