CHICAGO (CBS) — Longtime 40th ward Ald. Patrick O’Connor lost to Andre Vasquez in the 40th Ward on Tuesday
To chants of “Andre, Andre,” Vasquez declared victory around 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Take a look around the room, we did this!” he said. “Every person who knocked on a door and made a phone call … that’s what got us the win tonight.
“We took on the corrupt political machine at its worst and we won!”
“I represented this neighborhood for a long time and I am pretty happy with the things we have accomplished,” O’Connor said.
“People all over the country have an anti-incumbent sentiment. The stuff that happened in city council over the last few months certainly wasn’t helpful.
“I have had a good run. My life isn’t going to end.”
Most recently, O’Connor was named head of City Hall’s Finance Committee after fellow Ald. Ed Burke (14th) stepped down from the post earlier this year. Burke is currently being investigated by the FBI for alleged extortion. Despite that, Burke was reelected in February.
But O’Connor himself is no stranger to controversy.
He was one of the alderman who, in the 1980s, was part of the “Vrdolyak 29.” The mostly-white group of aldermen were led by Ald. Ed Vrdolyak (10th) that defined the infamous “Council Wars.”
O’Connor led a group of 29 aldermen that were allied to the old Democratic machine, compared with 21 who sided with the mayor. Shouting matches broke out on the council floor to block the legislative appointments from city’s first African American mayor Harold Washington.
Last year, he also launched a scathing website about his opponent thetruthaboutandre.com where it cited past homophobic and racist remarks Vasquez made on social media.
For more than 30 years, O’Connor has been alderman of the 40th ward when he beat then-incumbent Ivan Rittenberg.
The ward covers the northwest side communities of Edgewater, Lincoln Square West Andersonville and West Ridge.