Chandler unseats Dixon, recaptures 24th Ward seat

April 6, 2011

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(Photo for WBEZ by Charlie Billups)
Chandler: ‘I’m stronger, smarter and ready to work harder.’

A former longtime Chicago alderman has recaptured his old seat. Michael Chandler won about 60 percent of Tuesday’s 24th Ward runoff vote. He’ll replace Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon, who finished with about 40 percent.

Chandler celebrated in the city’s North Lawndale neighborhood. “I’m stronger, I’m a little wiser, smarter, and I’m ready to work harder,” he told WBEZ. “We’re going to fight like hell here to get as much money as we can to our community. The West Side has been overlooked and we’re going to fight to get dollars here.”

The contest was a rematch of a runoff four years ago, when Dixon unseated Chandler, who had held the office for 12 years.

This time, the two emerged from a field of 18 candidates on the February 22 ballot. Dixon accused Chandler of packing that contest with straw candidates to improve chances of a runoff — a charge he denied.

The council voting records of Dixon and Chandler show neither crossing Mayor Richard Daley often. In this year’s campaign, citywide issues took a backseat to the ward’s public services, its economic development and the candidates’ accessibility.

Dixon’s campaign suffered due to a 2009 run-in with Chicago police officers, who arrested her on suspicion of drunken driving. Charges were dismissed after a judge ruled there was no probable cause. Dixon is suing three of the cops.