Calloway tops Piemonte, will face Hairston in runoff

William Calloway toasts his supporters during his watch party after it became apparent that he was headed for a runoff against incumbent Leslie Hairston in the 5th Ward aldermanic race. (Photo by Marc Monaghan)

Staff Writers

Without newspaper endorsements, a base in Hyde Park or tens of thousands of dollars in his campaign coffers, William Calloway finished second to incumbent Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) and will face her in a runoff election.

In remarks to supporters at his campaign headquarters on 71st Street, Calloway, an activist who played a key role in releasing the video of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, noted former Herald editor and third-place finisher Gabriel Piemonte’s concession and pledged to fight on to victory in April.

“I had to answer a call, and the call was for me, from my community, to run for office and to run for this specific office,” Calloway said. “I obeyed that call, and today the 5th Ward voters spoke, and they said William Calloway should be in a runoff with the incumbent, Leslie Hairston.”

“We should not lose focus as to why we are running in the first place, and that is to change our community, that is to improve the quality of life in our community, to create better policies and ordinances down in City Hall, to make sure that we continue to fight against police corruption, political corruption and improve our community in the streets of Chicago,” Calloway said.

As he appealed to supporters for more financial support, a man scribbled out a check, tore it from his checkbook and handed it to him.

“God is good. I love my community so much. Without South Shore, this wouldn’t be possible,” Calloway said. “It’s imperative that the 5th Ward knows that ‘the tale of two wards’ is going to end on April 2.”

“Hyde Park — as much as we love our neighbors to the north — it’s about equity. It’s about inclusion, not treating one neighborhood better than the other. We need to make sure that we hold our elected officials accountable moving forward.”

Piemonte’s party was a great deal more somber than the ebullient moods at his competitors’ gatherings.

“Will and I talk at least once a week. We’ve had meals together over the last couple of months. We see each other we say ‘under 50 percent,’ meaning ‘get Leslie under 50 percent,’” he said. “That’s been the strategy. We have been supporting each other, asking each other ‘have you been knocking on doors’ every week.

“It has been a joint effort in a lot of ways,” Piemonte said. “Nevertheless, you compete to win.”