Candidate For Chicago Treasurer Dinged Over Attendance | WBEZ
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In Chicago Treasurer’s Race, Ald. Pawar Dinged For Low City Council Attendance

A new campaign ad in Chicago’s race for city treasurer is calling out Ald. Ameya Pawar for his chronic absences at City Council committee meetings. 

The 30-second spot, called “Every Day,” is funded by Pawar’s opponent, Democratic state Rep. Melissa Conyears-Ervin, D-Chicago. 

The ad highlights data from an analysis by WBEZ and The Daily Line, which found the 47th Ward alderman has one of the lowest attendance rates in the City Council. Pawar went to less than half of the committee meetings he was required to. That was below the average 65 percent attendance rate for all 50 aldermen. 

“Ameya Pawar is a typical politician,” the voice-over in the video begins. “Pawar’s missed more than half his meetings as alderman.”

It goes on to ding Pawar for voting in favor of the city’s record property tax hike in 2015. The ominous soundtrack flips to jubilant music when Conyears-Ervin is introduced as she appears to walk the city talking with voters. 

A person familiar with the Conyears-Ervin campaign said they placed a $190,000 ad buy for the commercial to run on all local TV stations this week, and expects to spend more next week before the April 2 runoff election. 

Pawar’s campaign shot back in an emailed statement, saying that he has a 95 percent attendance rate at full City Council meetings. But that only includes monthly meetings, and not the vast majority of subject-specific committee hearings where aldermen can make changes to legislation and hear testimony.

The alderman also called Conyears-Ervin “a machine backed Springfield politician” who voted in favor of a state income tax hike, while Pawar highlighted his record on “social justice and government reform.”

Pawar and Conyears-Ervin will go head to head in next month’s runoff election because neither of them garnered a majority in the first round of voting on Feb. 26. The city treasurer oversees the city’s bank accounts and its investment portfolio.

Conyears-Ervin is the wife of 28th Ward Ald. Jason Ervin. Pawar is nearing the end of his second term on the City Council. Though there are no official term limits for Chicago aldermen, Pawar has long said he would leave after two terms. In 2018, he abandoned a longshot run for governor before the March Democratic primary. 

Recent polling shows both candidates in a dead-heat ahead of the April 2 election. 

The Daily Line’s A.D. Quig contributed to this story.

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