By TONIA HILL
Ald. Sophia King (4th) secured the alderman’s seat in the fourth ward special election Tuesday night, Feb. 28, in what she called a victory for the community.
King received 4,286 votes, (just over 63 percent), while candidates Ebony D. Lucas received 1,179 votes (17.5 percent), Marcellus H. Moore, Jr. had 410 votes (6 percent), Gregory Seal Livingston had 440 votes (6.5 percent) and Gerald Scott McCarthy 406 votes (6 percent).
King recognized the other candidates and thanked them for stepping up to run for office.
“These four and all the volunteers and supporters are public, spirited and deserve our appreciation for their willingness to step up,” King said. “This is not an easy thing to do to put yourself in the public eye.”
In her speech, she thanked her family, supporters, state, federal, and local officials, and the community for standing alongside her on the journey. King also discussed the challenges that lie ahead for the 4th Ward, Safety and education were the two of the challenges she mentioned.
King acknowledged the endorsement of Former President Barack Obama. Obama endorsed King last month in his first political act since leaving the White House.
“History will tell but I think he’s going to go down as one of the best presidents ever,” King said. “I am just happy to have known him.”
King said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s guidance helped her on the campaign trail.
“I will never forget how you took me under your wings and showed me what it was really like to serve the public,” King said.
King was appointed to the 4th Ward by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whom she thanked for considering her a person to fill the role of alderman, husband, Alan King and her eldest and youngest daughters.
King also spoke of her humble beginnings.
“I remember the lights not being on sometimes. I remember government cheese, but mostly I remember the love and her [mother’s] strength through it all.”
King’s mother, who was not present at the party, was caring for her father, who is ill. King considers her mother to be her role model.
“My mother went from the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta to Northwestern University,” King said.
She spoke of the challenges facing the fourth ward and what she plans to do to inspire and lift up the next generation whom she says the community and the city can’t forget.
“We have failed a generation and a half and we need to make sure that we address some of those ills,” King said. “It’s our fault, we need to look at ourselves and figure out how we can fix it together.”
Solutions to address those issues according to King, include job development and youth engagement and allocating equity amongst resources to neighborhood schools for children.
“You are the ones that keep us honest,” King said to her constituents. “I am asking you to walk with me to keep after me and give me your thoughts and your feedback.”
Familiar faces in the crowd at King’s victory party at Little Black Pearl, 1060 E. 47th St., included Alds. Leslie Hairston (5th), Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), Joe Moore (49th), Ricardo Muñoz (22nd) the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and John W. Rogers, Jr., investor and founder of Ariel Investments, LLC.
“We are thrilled that she won,” said Peter Cassel, director of community development at MAC properties. “We have really appreciated all her work around public safety and neighborhood improvement and look forward to that continuing.”
Jake Austin, manager of The Promontory said, “She is just a solid really honest person and I’m really happy to have someone in government that I have trusted.”
Mildred Hare-Tan, a Hyde Park resident who campaigned on behalf of King, said that King “has the personality, and the skills and everything we need in an alderman.”
Hare-Tan said, “I believe she is the one who will do this job well.”
Ebony Lucas concedes, blames machine politics
4th Ward aldermanic candidate Ebony Lucas waited for the results for the 4th Ward special election, hoping to pull off an unlikely win. Surrounded by about 60 friends, campaign workers and well-wishers at her campaign headquarters, 641 E. 39th St., she smiled, hugged and shook hands with them as they waited nervously for the Board of Elections to reveal the results.
They were not to her liking. A little after nine o’clock, the word came in: Ald. Sophia King (4th) had triumphed. Lucas huddled with staffers for some moments in a corner then called all in attendance together. She told the crowd that she was proud of all the hard work they put into the campaign.
“We’ll be back in two years,” Lucas said.
She said this election was a person verses the machine.
“The machine suppressed the vote,” Lucas said. “You can’t allow your votes to be suppressed. It’s so powerful.”
She said voter low voter turnout was also a factor.
“I hope that in the 4th Ward in future races we will see better,” Lucas said. “No matter who you support, you have to vote. ”
Gregory Livingston disappointed but hopes King serves 4th Ward well
4th Ward aldermanic candidate Gregory Livingston said he was disappointed by the results.
“We thought we had a strong message, a strong method and a strong strategy,” Livingston said.
Despite his disappointment he congratulated King and said, “I hope she will do the best job for the 4th Ward.”
McCarthy focused on improving voter turnout in the future
In the midst of the election results coming in, aldermanic candidate Gerald Scott McCarthy’s focus remained on the low voter turnout.
“What I discovered was that 87 percent of the people did not get out and vote,” said McCarthy, who said he spent the day visiting as many precincts as he could.
Although he didn’t win the election, McCarthy said the thing I enjoyed the most about running for alderman “was that I met so many people who were compassionate and concerned about their ward.”
Marcellus Moore Jr., who was also a candidate in the 4th Ward Aldermanic Special Election, could not be reached by press Herald time.
Christopher Amati and Joseph Phillips contributed to this report