Tom O’Donnell, a former president of the Democratic Party of the 47th Ward, filed to run against 47th Ward Alderman Eugene Schulter in the February municipal elections.
O’Donnell, a long-time staffer for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, had been a close ally of Schulter. When contacted by Center Square Journal for comment, numerous local political leaders declined to speak on the record, but all were surprised to learn that that O’Donnell had filed for alderman.
Besides Ald. Schulter, who filed his petition for candidacy with the Chicago Board of Elections last Monday, three other candidates have filed for the 47th Ward post including Matt Reichel, one-time Green Party candidate for the 5th Congressional District, activist Ameya Pawar and Tom Jacks.
A common ploy for incumbent candidates running against a strong challenger is to stack the deck with numerous “friendly” candidates, but some local political experts did not think that was the case with Pawar and Reichel.
“They’re not realistic candidates,” said a local well-known political consultant who wished to remain anonymous, “Gene has done a great job and I don’t think these other candidates can articulate why they could do a better job. When it comes to talking about the day to day issues I don’t think they can say why they’d do a better job than Gene Schulter.”
UPDATE (11 p.m. 11/23): Capitol Fax wrote: “Tom O’Donnell filed to run in the 47th Ward. O’Donnell is Ald. Gene Schulter’s right-hand man. There’s word that Schulter may be appointed to Joe Berrios’ current seat on the Board of Review.” Schulter supported Berrios’ opponent Forrest Claypool in the Nov. 2 race for Cook County Assessor.