The first of many election posts

It’s only the beginning of August and already the November election is taking shape. I promised myself that I wouldn’t write about the election until at least September (when all the official paperwork from the different candidates is due), but with so many people running, I thought it best to at least take a stab at getting started.

Some basic ground rules for this post: I’m only going to cover the candidates that people in Ward B can vote for. And for this particular post, I’m drawing from publicly available information on the candidates – not talking to them individually. I hope to later do an interview with each candidate, but for now I’m just pulling information that’s already out there on the internet to give readers an overview of what’s going on.

And with that, let’s get started!

City Council: Ward B

Voters get to choose one person to represent our ward on the city council for the next four years. If you’re new to JC West Side politics, you might sense a little confusion surrounding this position because of our recent history with council members. Very long story short: in 2016, we had three councilmen. First, Councilman Chico Ramchal, who was elected as part of Mayor Fulop’s ticket in 2013, had to resign due to pleading guilty to a drunk driving charge. Then, Fulop selected John Hallanan to take his place until a special election was held in November. That election wound up being an upset, with Chris Gadsden winning. Gadsden now has to defend that position again this November. Which leads us to:

There’s also a few additional people buzzing around and dropping hints that they are interested in running. Until things get a little more firmed up, I’m keeping them off the list for now. I’ll add to this as more announce and/or get paperwork in.

Council at-large

Here’s where things get a little (more) confusing. The position of Council at-large represents the entire city. Running for it is basically like running for mayor – you have to get votes from all over the city. You don’t have to vote for an entire slate, you can do it ala carte so to speak, and pick and choose the candidates to support.

  • The incumbents are all on Mayor Fulop’s slate: Rolando Lavarro, Daniel Rivera and Joyce Watterman.
  • Bill Matsikoudis has his own slate, consisting of Esther Wintner, Michael Winds, and Esmerelda Trinidad.

It’s perhaps notable that both Lavarro and Wintner both live in Ward B.

There are others who are currently seeking signatures, but given that it’s a very steep hill to climb to qualify for the ballot for at-large, I’m leaving them off for now. I’ll add as they qualify.



So that’s it for a first stab! It’s a long slog from here to November, and changes are sure to happen. I’ll keep you updated the best I can.