47th Ward Candidates React to Schulter’s Withdrawal

By Samantha Abernethy | Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When Ald. Gene Schulter announced Monday that he would not be seeking reelection, his challengers weren’t surprised.

Rumors of Schulter’s retirement have swirled since November since Tom O’Donnell, a former president of the Democratic Party of the 47th Ward, filed to run for the seat in November.

“The fact that Tom O’Donnell is another candidate in the race, who is clearly connected with Alderman Schulter, sent—to me at least—a signal that Schulter was not 100 percent behind pushing for reelection,” said candidate Tom Jacks.

O’Donnell had circulated petitions for Schulter before filing his own papers. He told Center Square Journal Tuesday that he thinks Schulter will endorse him.

“I haven’t talked to him,” said O’Donnell, “but I intend to sit down with him this week and hopefully I will be endorsed by Gene Schulter and the 47th Ward organization.”

O’Donnell said he would also take an endorsement from the Independent Voters of Illinois Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO), which had endorsed Schulter for the position.

Other candidates said they would not ask Schulter for an endorsement, since O’Donnell was his “hand-chosen successor,” as candidate Matt Reichel called him.

The delay in Schulter’s decision frustrated some candidates, but overall they were glad he decided to withdraw before the election. If Schulter had been reelected to the seat before retiring, whoever is mayor in May would appoint his successor.

Schulter, who has served as alderman since 1975, said Monday he has applied to serve on the Cook County Board of Tax Review. In December the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Schulter was vying to replace out-going Joe Berrios on the Board of Review.

“You can’t run for alderman if you want to be something else,” said Reichel.

“Of course they waited until very late in the game to make this announcement, just to keep us on our toes,” he said. “I’m glad he made the correct decision. It’d be disingenuous to run and then drop out shortly thereafter.”

Candidates Reichel, Jacks and Ameya Pawar said they were happy to have an open race for the seat, but Schulter’s decision would not change their approach to the campaign.

“I just want to thank him for his many years of dedicated service in the 47th ward,” said Pawar. “I think it would be great to sit down with him and learn about the job.”

“I hope that things work out for him, that he gets what he wants,” said O’Donnell.

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  • Anonymous

    “O’Donnell said he would also take an endorsement from the Independent Voters of Illinois Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO)”

    I expect he would accept an endorsement from anyone short of the LaRouchies or Matt Hale. So, the implication is that he expects to get the IVI’s endorsement handed over to him. Which only leads to me having an even lower opinion of the independence of the IVI-IPO endorsements.

    None of which means I will or won’t support O’Donnell, but if it’s a fair paraphrase of what O’Donnell actually said, then it reflects poorly on him and IVI-IPO. If it’s not a fair paraphrase, a clarification is in order.

    • http://twitter.com/SamAbernethy Samantha

      Yes, this is a paraphrase of what he said. While it may imply he expects endorsements from those who would have voted for Schulter, as a reporter I write was he says.

      Thanks for getting the conversation going!

      • Anonymous

        Really wasn’t trying to imply it wasn’t what he said, or you were in anyway unfair. Just wanted to make sure I raised the possibility, because paraphrases can shade the meaning unintentionally (and, of course, intentionally).

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aviva-Miriam-Patt/1122701555 Aviva Miriam Patt

      Tom saying he would accept IVI-IPO’s endorsement doesn’t mean that it has been offered. I am an officer of IVI-IPO and a member of the Political Action Committee and I can assure you that no such offer has been or could be made. IVI-IPO has already completed its arduous endorsement process and is not re-opening it in response to Ald. Schulter’s late withdrawal from the race. If there is a run-off, our members in the ward will meet again to consider a new endorsement at that time.

  • Anonymous

    The Matt Reichel link doesn’t seem to be working, or else his site is down. Would love to read more about his campaign. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    I hope he doesn’t get Berrios’ old seat, he’s done enough damage in the public sector. I think he saw the writing on the wall. After Mayor Daley, his puppet master, decided to jump from the sinking ship, he dutifully followed him…no surprise there. They’ve both done considerable damage to put Chicago on the brink of bankruptcy in the last 10 years with the constant budget deficits. Now these two cowards leave before facing the potential election fight of their lives. Thanks to their incompetence and quick fix mentality, we citizens now pay higher fees to park while foreign investors take the money and run. Thanks for the financial black hole Gene. Do us a favor and get out of public “service” for good.

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