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USA: Chicago could be the dry run for how Latinos are politically courted

By Debbie Gordils



CHICAGO — During Chicago’s November general election, no candidate received the majority or 50 percent plus one vote. As a result, special run-off elections will be held on April 5th with early voting beginning March 31st.

Of the 53 offices that were in the general election, 14 failed to have anyone get 50 percent of the votes. So in those wards, the top two vote-getters will be in a run-off to see who will be the new Alderman or Alderwoman.

The run-off election is good news for Latino voters.

The run-off could mean big changes for the way the Latino vote is courted in the future. In many of these wards, it is the Latino vote that will make all the difference.

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For example, the 38th ward has a large Latino population. Independent Tom Caravette is running for alderman of the 38th ward. It’s a ward which borders that of Alderman’s Dick Mell’s 33rd ward, and which is predominantly Hispanic as well. Mell is the powerful father-in-law of former Gov. Blagovich and had no one willing to run against him this year.

If Latinos voters sway their vote to Independent Tom Caravette for alderman for the 38th ward, this could mean the beginning of real power behind courting the Latino vote and a Latino takeover in the 33rd ward down the road.

Tom Caravette knows the importance of a well-informed Latino voting block and is asking his organization and others to help him win with the Hispanic vote. So great is the possibility that incumbent Democrats may lose their stronghold in many wards that Mayor-Elect Rahm Emmanual has selected not only the 38th ward but a handful of others to donate $50,000 under his newly formed “The New Chicago Committee” political action committee.

Incumbents are fully aware that Latinos traditionally vote Democratic but the new message for Latinos is that Democrats have been slow to produce resolutions to the many issues facing Latinos today and the Independents and Conservatives are hoping to bring home that message.

Another interesting race and probably one that can bring great change to the Mexican-American community is the run-off in the 25th ward between old-timer Danny Solis and the energetic Cuahutemoc “Temoc” Morfin.

Temoc promises the predominently Mexican Pilsen Community a new vision for a community tired of broken promises and the threat of displacement by Solis’s blind eye to the push of gentrification.

If the Mayor-Elect wants to control the immigration movement, he has to control the 25th. Personally, I think it is going to take more than the $50,000 to accomplish smoldering that hot button issue.

Latinos can choose to vote for change and bring new energized people on April 5th thus proving courting the Latino voter is more valuable than a $50,000 donation.

Learn about Debbie

Debbie Gordils is a single Latina mom with two daughters, one adopted and one with special needs. When she isn’t freelancing as a consultant to the Republican Party and working on Hispanic outreach in Chicago, she has run for political office.

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