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Local Incumbents Go Unopposed; Record Low Election Turnout

By Mike Fourcher | Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Peter J. Coffey will now succeed Eugene Schulter as 47th Ward Democratic Committeeman. Campaign photo.

Yesterday Center Square-area voters decisively disproved the old political saying, “Good weather brings good turnout,” as less than a fifth of local registered voters saw fit to go to the polls. Perhaps it was because the area’s heavily Democratic voter base was unexcited by the GOP Presidential battle and every local candidate ran unopposed.

Overall, only 23.9% of city-wide registered voters turned out this year, according to the Chicago Board of Elections’ unofficial tally. But 19.1% of 47th Ward voters turned out, 18.6% of 40th Ward voters and 17.1% of 33rd Ward voters showed up. Despite the GOP Presidential contest, only a few hundred more Republican voters pulled ballots versus the 2010 primary, a year when 27% of voters turned out in Chicago.

In local contests, DePaul University lobbyist Peter Coffey will succeed Eugene Schulter as 47th Ward Democratic Committeeman, after his campaign path was cleared by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s political staff. Before Emanuel weighed in on his home ward, Springfield lobbyist Paul Rosenfeld had been planning to run.

In other races, 40th Ward Alderman and Pat O’Connor ran unopposed for reelection to his ward’s Democratic Committeeman spot, as did 33rd Ward and Democratic Committeeman Dick Mell. State Senator and Senate President John Cullerton (D-6) ran unopposed, as did State Sen. Heather Steans (D-7), State Rep. Greg Harris (D-13) and State Rep. Ann Williams (D-12).

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