CHICAGO (CBS) – For the second consecutive time, Ald. Bernard Stone (50th) has been forced into a runoff with a challenger.
On April 5, Stone will take on second-place finisher Debra Silverstein, a certified public accountant and the wife of state Sen. and ward Democratic Committeeman Ira Silverstein.
With all but one precinct reporting, Stone won 37 percent of the vote, or 4,143 votes, compared with 34 percent, or 3,763, for Silverstein. The third finisher, architect Greg Brewer, won 19 percent, or 2,095 votes.
Stone, 83, is the oldest serving alderman, and the second longest-serving, having taken office in 1973 when Richard J. Daley was still mayor. He represents the West Rogers Park neighborhood.
Stone seemed confident that he would prevail in April.
“I had a runoff the first time I ran too, and I won both of them, and I intend to win this one too,” Stone said.
Silverstein was also feeling upbeat, with a short, six-week campaign ahead.
“I’m really confident that we’re going to be successful in April 5; no doubt in my mind,” she told CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli. “I think the people of the 50th Ward are ready for change, and I think this is the time when it’s going to happen.”
Stone was also forced into a runoff in 2007 by community and political activist Naisy Dolar. Stone said he was not concerned about the fact that he has been forced into a runoff again.
“Last time, I had less opponents too. You’ve got to take that into consideration,” he said.
Stone won a special election for the 50th Ward seat in 1973, after Ald. Jack Sperling was appointed to a Cook County Circuit Court judgeship.
In 1987, he switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party and ran unsuccessfully for the Cook County Recorder of Deeds on a ticket with notorious former Ald. Edward Vrdolyak for county Circuit Court Clerk. Stone lost to Carol Moseley Braun in the 1988 election.
Stone also sought the Republican slating for mayor in a 1989 special election, when Mayor Richard M. Daley first ran for the office successfully. But Vrdolyak ended up being the nominee. In 1990, Stone went back to being a Democrat.
Stone also gained notoriety in the 1993, when he had a 2 1/2-foot metal wall built in the median strip of Howard Street between Kedzie and Francisco avenues. The wall kept cars and pedestrians from crossing Howard Street from Chicago into Evanston or vice versa.
At the time, a major shopping center with a Jewel, Target and Best Buy was under construction on the Evanston side of Howard Street, and Stone said he was concerned about extra traffic on the Chicago side, according to the Chicago Reporter. But Evanston city officials were furious, and after a court battle, “Bernie’s Wall” wall came down in 1994.
Stone announced last September that he would run for an eleventh term. In his announcement, he accused Mayor Richard M. Daley of “abandoning ship” during a financial crisis by choosing not to run again, and that the new mayor would need veteran aldermen such as himself to “lean on and depend on for guidance.”
Stone said in September that he was not ready for retirement because he was still “full of pee and vinegar.”