Update: Block Club Chicago has also called the race as Fuentes’ lead is considered insurmountable.
Hot Mix 5 DJ and house music pioneer Julian “Jumpin” Perez is apparently headed to a resounding and thorough defeat in his challenge for the 26th ward alderman’s seat in the Chicago city council.
With 100% of precincts reporting, Perez is trailing community activist Jessie Fuentes 54.4% to 33.3%, with Angee Gonzalez Rodriguez drawing 12.3%.
If she stays above 50% as mail-in ballots are counted over the coming days, Fuentes would win the seat outright and avoid a run-off with the second place finisher.
Chicago’s WGN News called the race for Fuentes last night.
An outright victory by Fuentes would cap a depressing night for Perez, who received mostly positive to neutral press based upon his background as a club and radio DJ over the past 30 years. The race became an open seat battle between three challengers after incumbent Roberto Maldonado withdrew from the election on January 6 after 13 years in office.
The race took an ugly turn days before the election. WTTW’s Heather Cherone reported that the Perez campaign had teamed up with the Chicago police union to produce a lurid flyer publicizing Fuentes’ juvenile and young adult arrest record from 2008. The flyers depicted a cartoonish Fuentes behind jail bars.
A website which reproduced much of the material from the flyer does not indicate who paid for it.
It was a bold move given the skeletons in Perez’s own closet – which outgoing Alderman Maldonado obliquely referenced in condemning the attack to Cherone with a warning that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
If the flyers didn’t backfire with voters, they certainly didn’t help. Fuentes supporters including freshman US Congresswoman Delia Ramirez, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas and State Rep Lilian Jimenez authored a statement condemning Perez’s “pattern of sexist, racist, misogynistic, and homophobic behavior.”
Fuentes, a queer Latina educator, organizer and community activist, is set to become the youngest member of the Chicago city council at 31 years of age.