The Daily Explains: Who’s running for City Council in 2023?


Illustration by Emily Lichty

Residents voted early at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center in Evanston’s 2023 election.

Lily Carey, In Focus Editor

Following the resignations of two former councilmembers in 2022, Evanston will hold a special City Council election April 4 to confirm who will fill the 2nd and 9th ward seats until 2025.

Typically, City Council members serve four-year terms. The most recent elections were held in April 2021 and saw the election of four new councilmembers.

However, in December 2021, former Ald. Cicely Fleming (9th) announced she would step down from her seat, citing the job’s toll on her mental health. Just months later, former Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) also resigned in June 2022, leaving City Council without two of its most experienced members.

After each candidate stepped down, Mayor Daniel Biss appointed a replacement, with the approval of the remaining councilmembers, to fill the respective seats until April 2023. Through this process, Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd) and Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th) joined the council.

Now, Harris and Geracaris are preparing to face the public vote. Harris will take on two challengers — Darlene Cannon and Patricia Gregory — in the 2nd Ward, while Geracaris will face Kathy Hayes in the 9th. 

Take a look below to see who’s running for each seat — and what issues are most important to the candidates in each ward.

(Graphic by Ava Mandoli)


2nd Ward

Harris, a longtime Evanston resident who also serves as the manager of campus inclusion and student life at Oakton College, stepped into her current role in September 2022. Biss selected her from a pool that started with 12 candidates vying for the seat. 

Cannon previously ran for City Council in 2021 and told The Daily she aims to address racial inequities and improve Northwestern-Evanston relations if elected. She has long been involved with many activist groups in Evanston and currently serves on the Evanston Equity and Empowerment Commission.

She has also been endorsed by Fleming and former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. 

Gregory, an Evanston/Skokie School District 65 teacher and member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board, will also run for the seat. She said she aims to focus on allocating resources toward helping houseless people and coordinating with NU on the Ryan Field rebuild.

During her months on City Council, Harris has continued to advocate for her initial platform, which centered around community-centered crime enforcement.

The 2nd Ward is home to the West End business district and many questions focused on how to drive more revenue to the area. Candidates also discussed combating crime within the ward and making City Council more efficient.

9th Ward

Geracaris will face Kathy Hayes, a longtime Evanston resident and experienced public servant, in the upcoming election. Though the initial selection process to fill Fleming’s vacancy was highly contentious, Geracaris and Hayes are the only two candidates running to hold the seat moving forward.  

As the first Latine member of City Council and a first-generation Argentine immigrant, Geracaris has advocated to make the city more inclusive of Latine and Spanish-speaking residents during his months on council. He also helped found Evanston Latinos and currently serves as the organization’s vice president. He has been endorsed by Biss and City Clerk Stephanie Mendoza.

Hayes worked in the Cook County State Attorney’s office for several years. She has also received endorsements from several former local politicians, including Fleming and former Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin.

Both candidates have emphasized the importance of affordable housing to their platforms. The 9th Ward, located toward the south of the city, is largely residential and currently has the lowest population of any Evanston ward.

Residents must request mail-in ballots by March 30. Early voting will take place from March 20 to April 3, and election day is April 4. More details on polling places and voter registration are available on the city’s website.

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Twitter: @lilylcarey