Chicago firefighter upsets incumbent alderman, ward organization

April 6, 2011

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(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)
Ald. John Rice has held the job since the fall of 2009.

A Chicago firefighter has defeated an alderman who was appointed to the job a year-and-a-half ago. Nick Sposato leads 36th Ward Ald. John Rice by more than twelve percentage points.

Sposato has been a firefighter since the early 1990s. Before then he worked at UPS, and it looks like he'll soon be an alderman.

"The whole race, I mean it was a David against Goliath-type deal," Sposato said as the results came in. "I mean, it was basically a handful of guys against an army."

Sposato's main support came from firefighters unions, which donated at least $15,000 to his campaign. He was also endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police.

Rice was endorsed by Rahm Emanuel, but - according to state records - the mayor-elect didn't give Rice any financial help. He did get campaign money and organizational help from his political mentor, former Ald. William Banks, who still serves as Democratic committeeman for the 36th Ward.

Rice previously worked as an aide to Banks. When Banks retired in the fall of 2009, he asked Mayor Richard Daley to appoint Rice to the council.