EDISON PARK — The number of Republican ballots requested by voters across the Far Northwest Side nearly doubled in Tuesday's primary election as compared with the last time both political parties picked a presidential nominee, according to Chicago's Board of Election Commissioners.
The biggest increases occurred in the 38th Ward, which saw the number of voters declare themselves members of the Republican party increase by 155 percent from 2008 to 2016 — the last time voters went to the polls to decide a contested presidential primary in both the Democratic and Republican parties, according to election data.
Some of the increase might be due to the new boundaries of the 38th Ward, which changed significantly in 2015 to include most of Dunning and exclude the eastern part of Portage Park and Old Irving Park, which was split between the 45th and 39th wards.
The surge of Republican voters in the 38th Ward could mark a big shift from fall 2014, when the Chicago GOP robo-called residents of the 38th Ward to ask them to consider running for the City Council to replace Ald. Tim Cullerton, who retired. Cullerton was succeeded by Ald. Nicholas Sposato (38th), who is also the ward's newly elected Democratic committeeman.
Residents of the 41st Ward — which includes Edison Park, Norwood Park, O'Hare and parts of Edgebrook — cast more than 6,000 Republican ballots, the most of any Chicago ward, and approximately 15 percent more Republican ballots than in the 42nd Ward — which includes Downtown and the Gold Coast — and 43rd Ward, which includes Lincoln Park.
Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) is the only member of the Council who is not a Democrat. He was endorsed by the Chicago Republican Party.
In the 41st Ward, the number of voters casting Republican ballots increased more than 70 percent, according to elections data.
In the 39th Ward, the number of Republican voters increased 148 percent, according to elections data.
In 45th Ward, the number of Republican voters increased 93 percent, according to elections data.
The burst of Republican voters in Tuesday's primary was consistent throughout the city, with some voters saying they voted Republican because of the candidacy of reality TV star and businessman Donald Trump — with some saying they voted against him in an attempt to deny him the Republican nomination for president.
The 36th Ward, which includes parts of Portage Park and Belmont Cragin as well as Montclare and Galewood, was one of only two wards to where fewer Republican ballots were cast in 2016 than in 2008, based on unofficial results.
The boundaries of the 36th Ward were changed significantly in 2015 to include a majority of Latino voters. Trump has drawn fierce criticism from Latino leaders for disparaging Mexican immigrants as criminals and promising to build a wall across the southern U.S. border.
Trump, who won the Far Northwest Side, was the choice of 58 percent of voters in the 38th Ward, his best showing among the four wards on the city's northwest corner, based on unofficial results.
That was in stark contrast to Republican voters along the lake, who picked Ohio Gov. John Kasich to be the party's nominee. Trump won the Illinois primary with 39 percent of the statewide vote, based on unofficial results.
On the other side of the aisle, Far Northwest Side Democrats picked Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who grew up in nearby Park Ridge, based on unofficial results.
Sander's best showing on the Far Northwest Side was in the 45th Ward, where he won 55 percent of the vote, based on unofficial results. Sanders had been endorsed by Ald. John Arena (45th).
Clinton narrowly won Illinois, her home state, besting Sanders by fewer than 36,000 votes statewide, based on unofficial results.
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