Arena claims victory, while Garrido holds out in Chicago's 45th Ward runoff

April 6, 2011

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(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)
John Arena (left) and John Garrido (right) at a forum last month in the Edgebrook neighborhood.

Margins of victory were very small in a handful of Chicago city council runoffs, and the results could change slightly as late-arriving absentee ballots trickle in.

Chicago's 45th Ward is on the Northwest Side, where just 29 votes separate the candidates. Graphic artist John Arena leads, and last night talked like he was already in the council.

"We need to move forward now," Arena said. "I'm going to build, you know, a coalition - whether it's folks who ran or residents that want to get involved and have a voice in how their ward is run and how the city is run."

But Arena's opponent, police office and lawyer John Garrido, is not conceding.

"Disappointed right now, but encouraged that everybody worked so hard, and it's close," Garrido said in a phone interview Tuesday night. "You know, we're going to wait for the final count."

This contest saw a recent infusion of cash, with the Service Employees International Union spending more than $200,000 dollars for Arena.

His 29-vote margin of victory is still unofficial. According to board of elections, as many as 73 absentee ballots for the race may still arrive.

The 45th Ward is an open seat this year. Incumbent Ald. Pat Levar announced last fall that he was retiring at the end of the term.