Robin Rue Simmons, Carolyn Murray moving on in 5th Ward race


Daily file photo by Maytham al-Zayer

Robin Rue Simmons speaks at a forum she attended on Jan. 19 with the other candidates for 5th Ward alderman, mayor and city clerk. Simmons received most votes in the primary on Tuesday.

Kristina Karisch, Assistant City Editor

Robin Rue Simmons and Carolyn Murray will be moving on to the general election in April for the 5th Ward aldermanic race.

Simmons and Murray received the highest number of votes in the primary, carrying just over 50 percent and 21 percent of the vote respectively. Carlis Sutton, who received over 15 percent of the vote; Misty Witenberg, who earned just under 10 percent; and Daniel Featherson, who carried under 4 percent of the vote, will not be moving on to the general.

Both Simmons and Murray have focused their campaigns on affordable housing support, a widely-discussed issue in the ward.

“We have a need for additional opportunities for affordable housing for seniors,” Simmons told the Daily in January. “That is something that is at the top of my list of priorities.”

Simmons told The Daily in January she would work to increase jobs and support for small businesses in the ward, as well as redistribute funds for affordable housing support to increase homeownership.

Murray told The Daily in January that her campaign is focused on building a unified platform to address concerns across the ward, including the availability of affordable housing and effective community policing.

“There is such diversity in the types of demographics and their concerns, but they all live together, so you want to develop a platform that … addresses everyone,” Murray said.

Both Simmons and Murray were not available for comment Tuesday evening.

In a statement sent out to residents of the ward, the current 5th Ward alderman, Delores Holmes, endorsed Simmons for the position.

“She is always professional,” the statement read. “She has educated herself on the issues. She knows and understands the Ward and its residents.”

Witenberg, who conceded her race Tuesday night, told The Daily she will be supporting Murray.

“I have seen what she can bring to the table, her passion and enthusiasm to serve,” Witenberg said. “I trust in her ability to properly represent all of the groups of people.”

Looking back on her own candidacy, Witenberg said she was “disappointed” with the outcome.

“I was excited to be in that role and serve, but the results weren’t that unexpected,” Witenberg said. “I just want to do something that I feel matters that can compensate for some of the harm at other levels of government.”

Featherson similarly expressed his disappointment with the outcome and turnout at the polls, saying he hopes to be involved in city committees in the future. He has not yet decided who to endorse. Carlis Sutton could not be reached for comment.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl has endorsed Simmons for the position, citing her work with Sunshine Enterprises and job creation.

“Robin has a done a good bit of work on jobs also, so I think she will be an excellent person to have as an alderperson,” Tisdahl told The Daily.

Murray and Simmons will be heading to the general election on April 4.

Nora Shelly and David Fishman contributed reporting.

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Twitter: @kristinakarisch