Maria Hadden Secures Second Term as 49th Ward Alderperson

It was a quick night in the 49th Ward as incumbent Maria Hadden cruised to reelection over challengers Bill Morton and Belia Rodriguez.

It was a quick night in the 49th Ward as Maria Hadden cruised to re-election as alderperson over challengers Bill Morton and Belia Rodrigez.

With all precincts reporting, Hadden received 72.89% of the votes — a total of 7,089 votes. Rodriguez received 17.11% with 1,664 votes and Morton received 10% with 973 votes, according to the Chicago Board of Elections

Hadden’s campaign priorities include affordable housing, public school investment, development without displacement and local economic improvement. 

Hadden hosted an election night party at The Rhapsody Theater on West Morse Avenue. Supporters, ward employees, friends and family filled the theater, cheering and whistling as vote counts rolled in. 

Maria Hadden addresses supporters at The Rhapsody Theatre. Holden Green | The Phoenix

After an introduction from her wife Natalia, Hadden thanked everyone for their hard work, including her challengers.

“This has been an opportunity, just like every time we get to have a fight,” Hadden said in a speech. “An opportunity to learn to be better, to grow, to perfect our message.”

Hadden made a name for herself through community activism. She was a founding board member of The Participatory Budget Project, advocating for a democratic budgeting process, and founded Our City Our Voice, a national nonprofit organization for equitable democratic participation, according to her campaign site

Challenger Belia Rodriguez speaking at her campaign’s election night festivities. Aidan Cahill | The Phoenix

Hadden received many endorsements from labor unions and local politicians alike, such as Service Employees International Union Local 1 and former 49th Ward Alderman and Chicago Mayor David Orr. She received the endorsement of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board

The mood was different at Morton’s campaign headquarters. Morton and a few of his supporters gathered to watch the results. He told The Phoenix he was surprised by the results. 

“We were out there meeting with people, we had community events and we did everything we could,” Morton said. 

Morton’s campaign prioritized public safety, public health and small business development. He was the president of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce, Leone Beach Park Advisory Council President and Willye White Park Advisory Council President, according to his campaign site.

Rodriguez and her supporters gathered at The Glenwood, a bar just off West Morse Avenue. She spent time talking with supporters and spoke with The Phoenix about the results. 

“All of our support came from the ward, from actual people who live here, who fought really hard to defend our community,” Rodriguez said. “All I ever set out to do was be another choice on the ballot for people who wanted another choice — I accomplished my mission.”

Rodriguez started an IT business in 2009 to help nonprofits before volunteering at Rogers Park Business Alliance and Vision Clark, an organization focused on fighting gentrification on Clark Street, according to her campaign website. She campaigned on community safety,  Touhy Park, affordable housing and economic development.

Bill Morton received just 973 votes. Aidan Cahill | The Phoenix

With her reelection, Hadden said she is looking forward to getting back to work full-time with new council members. 

“Now it’s kind of a shift to thinking about our progressive caucus,” Hadden told The Phoenix. “Are we going to have new members? What are some things we can do to grow? And how do we start working on a good agenda for the next term?”

This story was written by Aidan Cahill and Maddie Franz

Featured image by Holden Green | The Phoenix

The Phoenix Staff

The Phoenix Staff