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Chicagoans Gather To Watch 49th Ward Alderman Election Results

Alanna Demetrius | The PhoenixThe crowd at Hadden's watch party celebrated as the alderwoman-elect took the stage.

Rogers Park residents attended watch parties to keep up with the aldermanic elections as results were tallied. Newcomer Maria Hadden defeated 28-year incumben Joe Moore in a highly anticipated aldermanic election for the 49th ward, representing residents of Rogers Park, Edgewater and West Ridge.

Hadden’s supporters gathered at a venue called Mayne Stage (1328 W. Morse Ave.) to watch as election results poured in.

While the venue’s DJ played 2000s R&B music, attendees cheered at each precinct’s update and Hadden’s growing lead.

As the final votes were counted, Hadden — who was leading by nearly 30 percent — gave a celebratory speech before joining her supporters in the crowd.

“This is a better win, more decisive than I think we could have hoped for,” Hadden told The Phoenix. “I think all the work and all the community effort and energy that went into this — we got the win we deserved.”

Hadden’s parents attended the watch party, expressing pride at their daughter’s success.

“I think it’s just in her blood, it’s what she likes to do and she just does it,” Maria’s father, Skip Hadden, told The Phoenix.

Her mother, Norma Hadden, recalled leadership roles Hadden took on growing up.

“She has always been there,” her mother said. “I can remember, as an elementary student, rallying and mentoring people on the playground.”

Community members and students of all ages attended the watch party, many excited to be a part of the political process in the community.

Nick Boyle and Michael Lachenmeyer, both 20-year-old sophomores at Loyola, have been working on Hadden’s campaign since the fall through Indivisible Loyola — a grassroots activist organization comprised of Loyola students but not affiliated with the university — which they co-founded in mid-September 2018.

“We came here tonight because every Saturday we’ve been canvassing for Maria, organizing phone banks on her behalf,” Boyle, a political science major, said. “I support Hadden because I believe she’s going to be a fighter for the 49th [ward].”

Lachenmeyer, a political science and international studies major, said he was excited to be a part of a local grassroots campaign.

“She was right in the area and we literally just had to walk outside our door and we could go knock on people’s doors and help and do something positive,” Lachenmeyer said.

Caleb DeBerry, a 10th grader at Northside College Preparatory High School, has been working on Hadden’s campaign and showed up to the event in support.

“Maria just makes me feel so engaged in the political process,” DeBerry said. “Even though I’m 15 and I can’t vote, she still found me kind of worthy enough to campaign for her and to listen to my ideas.”

When asked about her next big step, Hadden had a practical response.

“Getting sworn in,” Hadden said.

After Moore’s decades long run as alderman, some of Hadden’s supporters championed her as someone who could bring change.

“[Moore] has been in office for 28 years, I’m only 15,” DeBerry said. “I’ve never seen the 49th ward without Joe Moore and I just really think it’s time for a change.”

Two train stops away, supporters of Moore gathered at the restaurant I’m Soul Hungry (2043 W. Howard St.) to watch the results roll in.

Despite his loss, Moore told The Phoenix he was thankful for the opportunity to be a public servant.

“I’m fine,” Moore said. “No one died. Everyone’s healthy in my family, that’s all that matters. Everything else is secondary. Of course, I’m disappointed, but I’m also grateful that I had the opportunity to serve the community for all these years.”

Moore said in his speech he didn’t have any plans for the future yet. He said although it’s been a tough election, he’s treated each election the same.

“I’ve approached each [election] with the same sort of work ethic and commitment to my community, so it was no different,” Moore said.

Supporters mingled and ate from a buffet while watching the election results on multiple screens throughout the restaurant.

Lawrence Itter, a Rogers Park resident who helped run the polling station in Loyola’s Centennial Forum, said he’s never been to a watch party before but wanted to go to support Moore given the competitiveness of this election.

“I wanted to come to give Joe my support because it’s gonna be a tight race,” Itter said. “We’ve never been to any of these functions before and it’s pretty exhilarating, but I’m feeling a little anxious.”

Robin Mcpherson, a housing specialist for a non-profit organization, said she wanted to support Moore at the event because he’s been the alderman for most of the 34 years she’s lived in Rogers Park.

“He’s the only alderman I ever knew, I just wanted him to stay in until he was ready to retire,” Mcpherson said. “Not like this, not before he’s ready to go.”

Sandra Jackson, who’s retired, said she wanted Moore to win because she had gotten to know him throughout the 15 years she’s lived in Rogers Park.

“You know, when you have someone, no matter what their faults, they know the system, you know they’re gonna get things done,” Jackson said.

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