Incumbents retain Second, Ninth Ward seats, while voters elect mixture of existing, new members to D202, D65 school boards

Tarek Anthony, Staff Writer

Last night brought a close to Evanston’s turbulent, contentious special elections for the Second and Ninth Wards in addition to District 202 and District 65’s school board elections. 

Biss’ appointees hold positions in Second, Ninth Wards

In the Second Ward, incumbent alderperson Kristian ‘Krissie’ Harris received 696 votes, amounting to 54.2 percent of the vote, prevailed victorious over challengers Patricia Gregory and repeat challenger Darlene Cannon, whose loss marked her third consecutive Second Ward election loss in the last two years.

In the Ninth Ward, incumbent alderperson Juan Gercaris also cruised to victory, beating challenger Kathy Hayes, winning over 61 percent of the vote.

The day proved triumphant for Mayor Daniel Biss, who had appointed both incumbent candidates Harris and Geracaris to council in September 2022. Biss had been campaigning for his appointees in the weeks leading up to the election. 

Biss took unprecedented measures to ensure Harris and Gercaris won reelection, writing emails, phone banking and even going door-to-door to get out the vote for his appointees. Although Biss received criticism from residents for those measures in the weeks leading up to election day, his efforts may have proved consequential in the large margin of victory for Harris and Geracaris. 

Overall voter turnout was extremely low, with both wards receiving less than a 25 percent voter turnout rate in a high-stakes election that will likely determine the future of many current issues facing Evanston including plans for a new Ryan Field, a new Fifth Ward school, the use of the Margarita Inn and multiple other affordable housing initiatives proposed for Evanston. 

New members join re-elected incumbents in D202, D65 school board elections

Both of Evanston’s school board elections for Districts 65 and 202 also yielded low voter turnout, with each election having 17 percent of registered voters coming out to the polls on Election Day. 

District 202, ETHS’s district, featured a school board election featured four candidates vying for three open four-year positions. Incumbents Monique Parsons, Elizabeth Rolewicz were re-elected, while former ETHS counselor Leah Pierkarz joined them. Parsons was elected with the most votes of the three (31.95 percent), while Piekarz came in second (28.61 percent) and Rolewicz was re-elected with 21.15 percent of the vote. Disabilities advocate Kristen Scotti, who had been endorsed by ETown Sunrise, received 18.29 percent of the vote in a losing effort. Incumbent Mirah Anti ran unopposed for a two-year seat on the board as well.

For District 65, five candidates competed for three open four-year positions with new aspirant Omar G Salem winning the election with 24.68 percent of the vote. He will join incumbent candidates Mya Wilkins, who took in 22.17 percent of the vote and current board president Sergio Hernandez Jr., who received 19.45 percent of the vote. In losing efforts, John Matthew Martin and Ndona Muboyayi received 18.87 percent and 14.82 percent of the vote respectively.

These results came just hours after D65 Superintendent Dr. Devon Horton announced his departure from the District informing the public that he had accepted a new job in a suburb of Atlanta, Ga. It was not immediately clear when Horton’s departure from D65 would be. 

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Democrat Brandon Johnson proved victorious in Chicago’s high stakes mayoral run-off election against more conservative-leaning Democratic opponent Paul Vallas. Johnson only defeated the former Chicago Public Schools CEO  by a mere 2.8 percent.

A full list of election results from Evanston’s Second and Ninth ward elections in addition to results from District 65 and 202 can be found here.