Calloway supporters cheer; vote seems too close to call

Fifth Ward Aldermanic Candidate William Calloway receives his “I Voted” wristband after casting his vote at the Senior Suites of South Shore polling place, 2355 E. 67th St.,

By SAMANTHA SMYLIE
Staff writer

William Calloway, the challenger in the 5th Ward aldermanic race, and his supporters have hope that Calloway will become the next alderman since the race appears too close to declare a winner.

Calloway hosted his election night party at his campaign headquarters in South Shore, 2030 E. 71 St. The room was a mix of volunteers and supporters from Hyde Park and South Shore eating and talking to each other. The night started off tense with everyone watching WGN 9’s coverage of the election results.

Around 9:30 p.m., 39 out of 41 precincts, 95.12%, of votes had been counted. The incumbent, Ald. Leslie Hairston sits at 50.51%, while Calloway follows closely behind with 49.49%. The crowd started to cheer for Calloway.

Calloway said to the crowd: “This has never happened, that’s history alone. This right here says a lot; we got everything from the grassroots, she got everything from developers. We are not the same.

“No matter what, if I come out on top or vice versa, the margin is too small for any one of us to say that it is a clear winner. It does not end tonight”

Calloway vowed to not concede until every vote is counted by the Board of Election Commissioners, especially mail-in ballots. However, Calloway said that he is feeling very optimistic about his chances despite Hairston being in the lead.

Gabriel Piemonte, who lost in the general election on Feb. 26, was at the event. Throughout the election season, Piemonte and Calloway have been working together to bridge the gap between their supporters and unite the fifth ward.

Gabriel said, “What a nail biter. I don’t think anybody anticipated that it would be so close that we are down to around 100 votes. Although I think everyone thought it would be close.

“Certainly, it’s clear that the ward is looking for someone different from my vantage point. If [Hairston] wins, it will be by a hair’s breadth. That’s meaningful.”

If Hairston wins, Calloway says that it is too early to say if he will run for elected office again. He said, “I will stick to continuing to fight to solve issues in our community from rent control, social justice, civil rights, and food deserts.”

The night ended with everyone dancing to house music. The crowd was excited about the possibility of electing a new alderman in the fifth ward.

s.smylie@hpherald.com