Current alderman faces former one in 24th Ward showdown

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For the second time in four years two aldermanic candidates in the West Side’s 24th Ward will meet in a runoff to determine a winner.

For the second time in four years two aldermanic candidates in the West Side’s 24th Ward will meet in a runoff to determine a winner.

Incumbent Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon and former Ald. Michael Chandler are vying for the right to represent the North Lawndale and South Austin communities in City Hall. Dixon defeated Chandler in a 2007 runoff. Before the loss, Chandler had been alderman since 1995.

But now Chandler wants his old job back.

“I have worked for the city for 25 years including 12 years as an alderman and I want the opportunity to serve the people of the 24th Ward,” Chandler said.

During his previous stint as alderman Chandler said he closed illegal junk yards and improved economic development in the ward with the opening of a Dominick’s grocery store and a movie theater – which has since closed but is slated to reopen this spring.

Both candidates failed to win 50 percent plus one vote in the Feb. 22 election but were the top two vote getters. Dixon received 19 percent while Chandler picked up 13 percent of the 9,255 votes cast. A total of 19 candidates ran for the seat, a first in Chicago’s history, according to Chandler.

“There was no way anyone could have won with that many candidates in the race,” Chandler said.

In a brief phone interview Dixon told the Defender she is confident she will win Tuesday and plans to continue fighting for more jobs, reduced crime and better education in the ward.

“I will continue to work closely with CPS (Chicago Public Schools) to improve the curriculum at our schools,” she said. “And I want to see more people with more jobs, less victims of crime and benefiting from better education.”

When asked about fundraising efforts Dixon said “it has been fair.”

Chandler said he has raised about $40,000 from businesses and local residents who want a change in leadership.

“When I first started raising money I did so by selling finger sandwiches,” said Chandler, who said he is not receiving support from Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel nor has he spoken to him.

“My vote will not be for sale in the City Council. I will not be a rubber stamp alderman,” Chandler added. He currently is receiving a city pension from his time as alderman and supervisor in the Building Department.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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