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Obama Captures Heavily Gay Wards
by Amy Wooten
2008-02-13


Now that Super Tuesday is in the past, how did Chicago wards with large LGBT populations vote?

Keeping in line with the rest of the state, Sen. Barack Obama was the most popular candidate in Chicago's heavily LGBT-populated wards in the Democratic Party presidential primary. He won by a two-to-one margin or more in all wards with large LGBT populations. In the 4th Ward, which includes Hyde Park, nearly 92 percent voted for Obama. In the 32nd Ward—which includes neighborhoods such as Lincoln Park, Wicker Park and Bucktown—Obama received nearly 70 percent of the vote. In Boystown's 44th Ward, nearly 67 percent of voters chose Obama and 31.4 percent voted for Sen. Hillary Clinton. Uptown's 46th and 47th wards favored Obama identically, with each giving him 66 percent of the vote. In the 48th, which includes neighborhoods such as Andersonville and Edgewater, 64.5 percent voted for Obama. Obama was even more dominant in the more diverse 49th Ward—which includes the Rogers Park neighborhood–taking 72.7 percent of the vote.

Obama also took suburban Oak Park with 78 percent of the vote to Clinton's 20 percent.

Although it was no surprise that Obama would carry his home state, exit polling done by NBC showed that voters in California and New York who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual favored Clinton over the Illinois senator. NBC was the only mainstream organization to include sexual orientation in its exit polling, but only did so in two states, not Illinois.

In other races, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky defeated opponent John Nocita by a landslide in the 9th District, which includes North Side wards such as the 44th and 48th. The longtime LGBT ally received the most Chicago votes in the 44th Ward, where she received nearly 93 percent of the vote.

In one countywide race, the candidate with the longest history with the local LGBT community typically fared best. Cook County State's Attorney insider Anita Alvarez will go head-to-head with Republican candidate Tony Peraica in November's general election after a tough battle for the Democratic ticket. On Feb. 5, the six-person contest became a close race between Alvarez and long-time Northwest Side Ald. Tom Allen as the evening went on. However, Cook County Commissioner and community ally Larry Suffredin was the favorite in LGBT-heavy wards.

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In the 32nd Ward, Suffredin came in first with 29 percent of the vote. In the 44th Ward, Suffredin took home nearly 34 percent of the vote. Allen came in second with 28 percent, and Alvarez trailed behind with 27 percent. Suffredin took home a third of the vote in the 46th, where he received the most votes. Alvarez was second with nearly 29 percent. Allen took the 47th Ward with 35 percent of the vote. Suffredin was also favored in the 48th Ward, with 37 percent of the vote to Alvarez's 27 percent. He was also most popular in the 29th, with 42 percent of the vote, and in the 43rd Ward, with 34 percent of the vote.

The 4th Ward favored Brookins, who received 32 percent of the vote, followed by Suffredin with nearly 22 percent. Suffredin also carried suburban Oak Park, followed by Alvarez.

Openly gay Board of Review candidate Jay Paul Deratany may have lost to Democratic Party heavyweight Joe Berrios after giving him a run for his money in this countywide race, but he was favored most in wards heavily populated by LGBT's. Over 56 percent of 44th Ward voters favored Deratany. Although Berrios took the 47th Ward with 53 percent of the vote, Deratany took with 32nd with 50.8 percent. Deratany took 53 percent of the 48th Ward and 57 percent of the 43rd Ward as well.

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