Chicago's incredibly gerrymandered new ward map boundaries certainly created some newly competitive districts in the 2015 aldermanic races, throwing more than a dozen into April 7 runoffs. The controversial 2012 map was considered illegal by some incumbents and voters, but the Democratic kingpins won their fight to create a new world order.
The LGBT community can no longer be stereotyped as being in a handful of the city's North Lakefront districts. The community has never been restricted by geographic boundaries, but in past years the concentration of out and identifiable LGBTs was high in those districts.
Now, to court the LGBT vote, a citywide or countywide candidate has to understand a far more diverse and nuanced LGBT voterand not just campaign in Boystown in the 44th Ward.
According to U.S. Census numbers, which are restricted to counting out same-sex couples who live together, there are heavy concentrations of such couples in the 44th, 46th, 47th, 48th and 49th wards, but they are also the 3rd, 4th, 27th, 32nd, 42nd, and beyond. Simply put, LGBTs live in all 50 wards.
So when it came to the mayor's racewhich will now see a runoff between incumbent, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and challenger Jesus Garcia, a Cook County Commissionerhow did they do ward by ward? Overall, Emanuel had 45.47 percent of the vote to Garcia's 33.88 percent.
Emanuel won a majority of votes in 10 wards, and most of those were downtown and the North Lakefront. Garcia won a majority in eight wards, especially those with large Latino populations.
In the 42nd, downtown, Emanuel received a predictable 73.21 percent of the votes to Garcia's 16.72 percent. In the 44th Ward Emanuel had 64.17 percent to Garcia's 27.19 percent. In the 46th Emanuel had 57.40 percent to Garcia's 31.58 percent. In the 47th, Emanuel was at 51.22 percent to Garcia's 40.14 percent. Moving further north, in the 48th Ward Emanuel received 52.18 percent to Garcia's 47.59 percent, and in the 49th, Emanuel got 42.55 percent to Garcia's 44.14 percent.
Garcia's strongest wards were the 12th, 14th, 15th, 22nd, 25th, 26th, 31st, and 35th.
What this means is the race has started over, and both men will now have to run a new citywide race, in all 50 wards, and all 77 neighborhood communities. Courting the LGBT vote requires far more sophistication these days.
See a ward map at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/WardMapChicago.pdf and the breakdown ward by ward for Emanuel and Garcia at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/VOTECHART2015225.pdf .
See "Emanuel to face Garcia in April runoff; gay Latino wins big" at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Emanuel-to-face-Garcia-in-April-runoff-gay-Latino-wins-big/50648.html .