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Lyle Loses Tight Race To Sawyer In 6th Ward

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Roderick Sawyer and Freddrenna Lyle

Roderick Sawyer, the son of former Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer, defeated incumbent Ald. Freddrenna Lyle in the 6th Ward runoff on April 5, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Four incumbent Chicago aldermen lost their bids for re-election in Tuesday’s runoffs and the tightest of those contests was in the 6th Ward, where Ald. Freddrenna Lyle lost out to Roderick Sawyer, the son of former Mayor Eugene Sawyer.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, Sawyer led Lyle by 124 votes early Wednesday, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

Although election officials must still count absentee and provisional ballots, Lyle conceded Tuesday night that she wouldn’t be able to catch up.

Roderick Sawyer shed a few tears as he shared how proud his dad would be of his victory in the ward where Eugene Sawyer once served as alderman from 1971 until 1987, when he became mayor.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts reports

“It’s a little melancholy because, you know, my dad’s not here to savor this with me,” Roderick Sawyer said Wednesday morning. “He always knew I had interest in public service, we would talk about it all the time. And he knew that one day I was going to throw my hat in some kind of ring.”

Roderick Sawyer said he always looked up to his dad when the elder Sawyer was alderman, then mayor.

“Absolutely, I looked up to him. I mean, he was my idol and as I’d gotten older, you know, he became my best friend.”

Although he was inspired, this was no easy win for him.

Lyle, seeking a fourth term, lost by a very narrow margin despite the support of Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, labor unions and business leaders.

Roderick Sawyer said he talked with Emanuel on the phone Wednesday morning.

“He shared a couple of jokes with me and I think we’ll get along just fine,” Sawyer said. “I put that behind me. I mean, the election is over and I have no ill will toward anyone.”

Sawyer said that, as the next alderman, he wants to clean up the neighborhoods, especially Englewood.

It’s not just the trash, but also crime on the streets. Two Chicago police officers were shot and killed in the 6th Ward last year: Officer Thomas Wortham and Officer Michael bailey.

Lyle did not return a phone call seeking comment on the election on Wednesday.

Sawyer said he was going to talk to Lyle on Wednesday. He had once been a Lyle supporter, but decided to run against her after she voted for the controversial parking meter lease deal.

Sawyer said he’s known Lyle for 20 years and believes they’ll be able to move forward.

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