CHICAGO (CBS) – Northwestern University emergency management staffer Ameya Pawar defeated the handpicked candidate to replace Ald. Eugene Schulter (47th) Tuesday night, and will be the city’s first Indian-American alderman.
Pawar, 30, works as a program assistant at Northwestern University, where he has worked on developing a business continuity program. He won a solid majority Tuesday night, winning 51 percent of the vote, or 8,250 votes, compared with 44 percent, or 7,305 votes, for Tom O’Donnell, the candidate endorsed by the outgoing Schulter.
Pawar told CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli that he himself was shocked by his upset victory.
“We’ve been doing this for 15 months,” Pawar said. “The idea was just to build an organization based on good public policy, and build a constituency around that.”
Pawar’s father was born in Mumbai, and was extremely moved by the news of his son’s victory.
Schulter originally planned to run for reelection, but he abruptly announced in January that he would retire from the City Council.
He had put in papers to win appointment to the Cook County Board of Review, after Joseph Berrios left his seat on the board when he was elected county Assessor. But Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans picked U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission prosecutor Michael Cabonargi instead.
The Chicago Reader reported that Berrios, who is also the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, was angry with Schulter for not supporting him in the race for assessor and instead backing independent Forrest Claypool.
Schulter had served as alderman of the ward since 1975. The ward includes the Lincoln Square and Northcenter neighborhoods, and some parts of the Lakeview neighborhood.