Chapa LaVia falls short in Aurora mayoral race
Aurora voters rejected a bid by state Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) to become mayor in the Feb. 28 primary.
Chapa LaVia received 2,821 votes in the four-way race, which placed her third behind Alderman Richard Irvin and Aurora Assistant Chief of Staff Richard Guzman. Irvin and Guzman received 3,502 and 3,131 votes, respectively, and will move on to a runoff April 4. Aurora Alderman Michael Saville came in fourth.
While Chapa LaVia was considered the favorite due to her current position as state representative for the 83rd District, a seat she has held since 2003, she failed to garner enough votes to move forward.
Chapa LaVia's mayoral candidacy may have been hampered by the obvious support of Speaker of the House Mike Madigan (D-Chicago). The Aurora mayor's race is nonpartisan, however, Madigan threw his support behind Chapa LaVia during her campaign and held a $1,000 per plate birthday fundraiser.
That fundraiser generated a mailer that accused Chapa LaVia of being part of the Madigan political machine. The mailer prominently pointed out that Madigan and other Democratic insiders hosted the fundraising event.
Reader-generated content in the Aurora Beacon-News expressed voter discontent with the Chapa LaVia campaign. One reader said "Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia is running for mayor of Aurora while she is supposed to be down in Springfield serving the people. Does she get paid for her job in Springfield or does she deny the wages while she's campaigning? Chapa LaVia was given a fundraising dinner at $1,000 a plate. What does she donate to charity? What does she do for Aurora? Her signs are right on top of the road. Why does she get to break the law with her signs?"
Criticism was not limited to the mailer and public comments. OpenlineBlog on Twitter tweeted: "This mailer on the #Aurora Mayor's race is correct because Linda Chapa-LaVia is running for the political mafia of Chicago and Springfield."
The mailer was allegedly sent by a PAC not registered with the state of Illinois, per other comments on the Twitter feed.
Chapa LaVia is no stranger to controversy. She had to take to the House floor in 2014 to apologize for making racial remarks toward Republican colleague John Anthony (R-Morris). She called him “half” a minority. Anthony is biracial – African American and Puerto Rican.
Chapa LaVia also was involved in a heated exchange in December with Guzman regarding former candidate Jose Luis del Bosque, which may have turned voters toward the other candidates. Chapa LaVia's campaign sent out a press release stating that Guzman was lying when he said he did not collect petitions for del Bosque.
Guzman called her allegations "ludicrous and politically motivated."
While Guzman admitted to giving del Bosque advice, he denied Chapa LaVia's accusations of campaign fraud.
"In some ways, this episode encapsulates what is at stake in this election," Guzman said. "Are we going to try to include people and bring them into the process – or use power and influence to shut people out and limit the choices of Aurora voters?"
Chapa LaVia's faillure to appear at a recent Aurora candidates forum may have also led to her defeat in the primary. The other three candidates appeared at the Eola Community Center in Aurora to share their solutions to the city's issues, including the flow of city business to outside firms.
In the end, Aurora's voters took charge in the primary and decided to send Chapa LaVia's challengers Irvin and Guzman to face off at the April election.
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