Ald. Raymond Lopez Face Runoff Rematch Against Rafael Yañez For 15th Ward Seat


Ald. Raymond Lopez, left, will likely face off once against Rafael Yañez in an April runoff for the 15th ward seat.

Original Post by Block Club Chicago –
Mauricio Peña @MauricioPena

BACK OF THE YARDS — Ald. Raymond Lopez appears likely to face off against Chicago Police Officer Rafael Yañez in a runoff for the 15th ward seat.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, the first-time alderman narrowly failed to garner more than 50 percent of the vote — the required amount needed to avoid a runoff. In a five-way race, Lopez captured 49.1 percent compared to Yañez, who received the second-highest vote with 22 percent.

Lopez, however, said it was “too early to concede that there will be a runoff,” citing outstanding absentee ballots. “I’m certain once they are received in the mail, I will prove victorious.”

The first-time alderman criticized candidates for running “ugly campaigns … and I’m glad that as of right now, nearly half the ward saw through that.”

He said in his first term he has worked to get every pocket of his ward —Back of the Yards, Gage Park, Brighton Park, West Englewood— “into the 21st century with investment and opportunity for every resident.”

“As we look forward into the next four years, my goal is to continue build on the initiatives based on securing safe and stable communities, while also focusing on economic development and job creation in every community while preserving my residence so that they can enjoy the fruits of all the work we’ve put forth.”

Mayra Lopez, campaign manager for Yañez, said the police officer was proud of the campaign and his supporters helped “change the narrative of the race” to talk about the issues that matter to the people in the neighborhood.

“He feels that this is a movement and is confident that we can take” the incumbent on a second time around, Mayra Lopez said.

Community organizer Berto Aguayo received 16.4 percent of the vote, violence interrupter Joseph Williams garnered 8.1 percent, while Director of New City Wholistic Community Development Otis Davis Jr. captured 4.1 percent.

Lopez, who was elected in 2015, previously told Block Club Chicago he planned on building on the public safety work and foundation set in his first term to end gang violence. He also looked to continue his work to bring more investment and resources to the 15th Ward.

Yañez, a Police officer for 15 years and community leader, looks to bring more resources for schools, social service and small businesses to the ward while advocating for reforms to the Chicago Police Department.

In 2015, Lopez previously defeated Yañez in a runoff for the 15th Ward.

Lopez is the Democratic Ward committeeman of the ward and was a skycap for Southwest Airlines before being elected in 2015.

Check out our full election guide at Chi.Vote for more info on the candidates in this and other ward races.