Mayor, most aldermen likely to face challengers

Breanne Gilpatrick

Almost all city positions could see contested races as filing deadlines for April’s municipal election pass.

The deadline to file to run for mayor passed in December. Peter Godwin will be running against long-time mayor Lorraine H. Morton in the April 5 election. Morton is in her third term as mayor and ran uncontested in the last two elections.

Godwin, who serves on the city’s board of ethics, said he’s running to give Evanston residents a choice. Godwin has already formed a non-profit organization called Friends of Peter Godwin to begin fund raising.

“I don’t think I’ll have all the answers and I don’t think the current mayor will,” Godwin said. “But I think the most important thing is giving people a venue to ask those questions.”

Barnaby Dinges picked up an election packet for mayor in November, but said on Monday that he will not be running because he doesn’t feel the timing is right. He said he’s glad someone else decided to run against Morton.

“I think part of the idea is that Lorraine Morton has made her contribution and it’s time for some new voices,” he said.

Morton could not be reached for comment Monday.

Potential candidates for alderman, city clerk, township supervisor and township assessor cannot file forms until Jan. 18.

Of the 36 people who picked up election packets for those races as of Monday morning, 32 picked up packets to run for alderman, according to a list obtained from the city clerk’s office.

If all of the people who have picked up election packets for alderman file for candidacy, Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) could be the only incumbent in an uncontested election.

Open seats in the First and Ninth wards have generated significant interest. Both Ald. Arthur Newman (1st) and Ald. Gene Feldman (9th) have announced that they will not seek re-election.

Marilyn Gardner, who picked up a packet last month for the Ninth Ward, said she would not be considering running for aldermen if Feldman had sought re-election.

Anjana Hansen and Mimi Peterson have also picked up forms for the Ninth Ward.

Ald. Joseph Kent (5th) had not picked up an election packet as of Monday morning. Eight other people have picked up election packets for that ward. Kent could not be reached for comment Monday.

Possible competition has also appeared in the past month for Ald. Elizabeth Tisdahl (7th) with two other people picking up packets.

Her ward contains a portion of Northwestern’s campus, including dormitories east of Sheridan Road, Jones Residential College and 1835 Hinman.

Community activist Junad Rizki picked up election forms for the Seventh Ward and said he probably will run.

He said he wants to put pressure on the council to secure money in next year’s budget to inject the city’s elms against Dutch elm disease.

“It depends on what they’re going to do with the elm trees,” Rizki said, “I don’t think they’re serious about getting these trees injected.”

Tony Schlax also picked up an election packet for the Seventh Ward but said he only did so to understand the process and is supporting Tisdahl.

Tisdahl said she isn’t concerned with the possibility of competition in April.

“It’s a democracy and you can’t have a democracy without a contested election,” Tisdahl said.

Reach Breanne Gilpatrick at [email protected].