Aldermanic candidates aim for last - on the ballot

Overall, about 350 Chicagoans want to run for city council

November 23, 2010

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(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)

More than 350 people filed to run for the 50 seats on Chicago's City Council before the deadline arrived on Monday evening. Some of the races could be extremely crowded, including the 24th Ward, where about two dozen candidates filed.

The incumbent aldermen there, Sharon Denise Dixon, wanted the last spot on the ballot, in hopes that her name wouldn't get lost.

"I wouldn't get so jumbled up in there with so many names and confuse the constituents," Dixon said.

So Dixon showed up at the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners just minutes before the 5 p.m. filing deadline, in an effort to be last in line and secure the coveted ballot position. But one of her challengers, Donielle Lawson, a teacher, had the same idea. It was a stand-off, and Dixon was annoyed.

"She's playing games," Dixon said. "[After] I get in line, [then] she gets out behind me."

Lawson blamed Dixon.

"She initiated that, she was doing that, yes," Lawson said. "Because of fear."

Both candidates needed to get in line before the 5 o'clock deadline, or be locked out of the filing room and the election.

Alderman Dixon won the game of chicken, but still faces a lot of competition. More than 20 candidates, including Lawson, have filed to run against her. Dixon said she has not decided whether to object to the petitions submitted by any of her opponents. Objections must be filed by next Tuesday.