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Just 4 precincts reelected Ald. Burke

Monday, Mar 11, 2019

* I meant to post this when Eric Zorn wrote it, but somehow forgot. Zorn drilled down into 14th Ward election results to see how Ald. Ed Burke won

His two challengers, Jaime Guzman and Tanya Patino, simply had to hold Burke to less than 50 percent of the vote in order to force a runoff election April 2.

And in 27 of the 31 precincts in the 14th Ward, they did. Combined, Guzman and Patino won 51 percent of the vote in those precincts, according to preliminary tallies provided by the Chicago Board of Elections.

But in four precincts in the western finger of the ward — a 38-block-long gerrymandered extrusion that in places is just one block wide — Burke’s operation shuffled that deck and got his voters to the polls.

The contiguous 1st, 4th, 9th and 24th precincts at the far edge of that protuberance had 52 percent voter turnout, compared with a dismal 30 percent turnout in the other precincts. Those four key precincts, which overwhelmingly supported white mayoral hopefuls Jerry Joyce and Bill Daley, voted 70 percent for Burke.

That margin boosted Burke to 3,759 total votes, close to 54 percent, enough to claim re-election and avoid a runoff.

Burke deployed a ton of people to those precincts.

Anyway, good catch by Eric.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

17 Comments
  1. - Wow - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 8:48 am:

    What is missed: in those predominantly Hispanic east end 27 precincts Mr Burke got on the high 40’s percentage..


  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 8:53 am:

    The key, be it statehouse races or ward races (40-140 precincts) is knowing how to maximize your votes in a handful of precincts you know are “yours” and stay above water where you have least “control”.

    The way the ward is drawn, those 4 precincts, worked correctly in a turnout race, will make the important difference.

    They did that again for Burke.


  3. - Bourbon Street - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 8:58 am:

    Wow makes a good point. I would add that, since Burke ended up in the high 40’s in the 27 precincts, he still most likely would have prevailed in a runoff (all else being equal). The vote out of the 4 precincts made the inevitable happen sooner rather than later.


  4. - DuPage Bard - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 9:02 am:

    Not sure what Zorn is going for here? Burke took 49% of the vote in 27 Hispanic wards. That’s a pretty good margin. The other 4 precincts literally just pushed him over the top.
    Maybe if the other two candidates had joined forces but they didn’t.
    Lots of maybe’s here in this assessment. Seems to me more like Zorn just trying to figure out a way to explain how, even with the media pounding of Burke, he still came through.


  5. - PJ - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 9:12 am:

    His likely next exercise of aldermanic privilege will be choosing his seat in the lunch room of a federal prison


  6. - ZC - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 9:43 am:

    The commentators are correct that Burke couldn’t obviously rely on just 4 precincts for his victory, and the electorate is what it is. Still, Zorn is also correct that this is a helpful modern case example for how gerrymandering works. If anyone hasn’t looked at Burke’s ward recently, that “extrusion” is pretty striking.


  7. - Fav Human - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 9:46 am:

    Gosh, a powerful Alderman has a great machine, and when he needed it, it delivered. I’m so surprised.

    Not at all surprised about getting high 40s in the other parts. I suspect many people living there see the advantage of supporting THEIR powerful alderman. Especially with this winter to remind them!


  8. - A guy - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 9:50 am:

    Not exactly sure where the news is here. Top to bottom Burke did pretty darn well. In a handful, he walloped. The guy knows how to win the district he drew.


  9. - Trapped in the 'burbs - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 9:55 am:

    Burke’s win is even more impressive in the climate of change seen across the city. So many incumbents lost or were forced into a runoff.


  10. - Al Beit - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 10:19 am:

    Not sure I agree with Zorn’s math. I count 14 of 31 precincts that went for Burke: 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 22, 24, 29. Some of these are in the east end of the ward. In 14, in the east end, he got 62.86%, which compares to 65.95% in 9 in the “extrusion”.

    Zorn makes it sound like Burke only got support from the “extrusion” that was gerrymandered in his favor, which isn’t quite right.


  11. - Papy - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 10:58 am:

    I’d like to add, and I think it’s important, is that Ald. Burke walked his Ward. Early in Summer ‘18, rumors were flying around that he was meeting face-to-face at voters home. I think this enormous effort paid huge dividends.


  12. - Grand Avenue - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 11:54 am:

    @Papy - interesting. If you think about it, Aaron Ortiz defeating Dan Burke in 2018 set the stage for Ed Burke winning in 2019. After Dan lost, Burke knew Chuy & co would be gunning for him so he started walking his Ward and knocking doors in the summer of 2018, well before FBI searches and Federal charges. He laid the groundwork then that led to a majority of voters being willing to vote for him in spite of the charges.

    Had Aaron Ortiz not defeated Dan Burke, Ed Burke might not have taken the threat seriously early and he might have been sunken by his legal issues.


  13. - James - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 12:51 pm:

    30% turnout in 27 of the 31 precincts. When you don’t vote, you deserve four years of whatever you get. Burke’s opponents were busy fighting each other and failed to stoke the passion of the electorate. The gerrymandering was done long ago, with great foresight to the changing demographics and with just this possible need in mind. But this will be Burke’s last term. The opponents can get someone else with their 30% next time.


  14. - Anon1 - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 1:12 pm:

    Wow…you’re right. The fact bare this out. You’re safe for now.


  15. - anon2 - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 3:27 pm:

    It shows how effective precinct captains can make a crucial difference. The opponents no doubt lacked as many veteran workers who knew their precincts.


  16. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 11, 19 @ 3:33 pm:

    BO is running around the country yelling about gerrymandered pol districts of all kinds because of REP and low and behold all he needed to do is look at Chiraq.


  17. - Jesus - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    Let the record show: The Chuy camp didnt deliver those precincts because Manny Perez [Chuy’s guy] is a very overrated CM.


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