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45th Ward Race Too Close To Call

A voter casts a ballot during early voting. (AP Photo)

A voter casts a ballot during early voting. (AP Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) – Several aldermanic contests were quite close, and one, in the 45th Ward, is expected to require a recount.

As WBBM Newsradio 780′s Bob Roberts reports, absentee ballots could ultimately change the outcome of the race for the Northwest Side aldermanic seat, in which Chicago Police Lt. John Garrido was up against graphic design firm owner John Arena.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Bob Roberts reports


With all precincts reporting early Wednesday, the Republican Garrido had 6,024 votes, while Democratic Arena had 6,053 – a difference of a mere 29 votes.

But Chicago Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen emphasized that there is still another number to consider – 70 outstanding absentee ballots.

“That’s not a large number. It is a very tight contest, but these are all unofficial results,” Allen said.

Illinois state election law governs most contests, but not those for Chicago alderman. The city code requires only that a candidate must submit a request for a recount within five days of the election, not the proclamation.

This means that conceivably, both Arena and Garrido could seek a recount.

Arena received strong backing from the Service Employees International Union, while Garrido, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for Cook County Board president last year, was endorsed by the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 and the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.

The current alderman of the ward, Patrick Levar, is retiring.

The ward includes parts of the Jefferson Park, Portage Park and Old Irving Park neighborhoods.