One-term Ald. Jim Gardiner has been dogged by controversy since winning a close race to represent the Northwest Side Park in 2019. Yet Tuesday he was pulling far ahead of his five challengers and neared an outright victory, though it appeared he will have to face a runoff.
At his Election Night after-party in Portage Park, Gardiner said his campaign felt “really good” about his commanding lead. With one precinct outstanding in unofficial totals, Gardiner had nearly 49% of the vote. His closest competitor, Megan Mathias, a small business owner and Chair of Local School Council at Belding Elementary, claimed only about 16% of the vote.
At close to 10 p.m., Gardiner said he was still hopeful he’d receive enough votes to avert a runoff in April. “Let’s just see how it goes. Obviously we would like to see this be done with this tonight.”
Past controversies for Gardiner range from a reported federal investigation into whether he sought to withhold ward services from some residents who opposed his agenda, to leaked profane texts about political colleagues and alleged remarks likening detractors to “rats.”
The alderman declined to comment on the controversies Tuesday.