News & Events

April 3, 2019

Leaving the pack behind.
Yesterday, Lori Lightfoot’s election as the next mayor of Chicago was certainly a landmark in the city’s history. As a black, openly gay woman, her odds of becoming Chicago’s mayor were pretty steep. But she prevailed – impressively.
It’s true that when all the campaigning began, her name wasn’t completely unknown but it was far less familiar than names like Daley or Preckwinkle, or even Mendoza. And certainly there were a number of candidates that were better “connected” within the political world. 
So how did such a surprising outcome happen? It’s no great insight on my part to say Lightfoot’s election victory was the result of a variety of things. Not the least of these was Lori’s confidence in herself. She has been a U.S. States Attorney, a partner at a major Chicago law firm and has held positions in Chicago government including a role as President of the Chicago Police Board.
The Laquan McDonald murder and the scandal that followed led Mayor Emanuel to appoint Lori Lightfoot to a Police Accountability Task Force. This put Lightfoot much more in the public eye. But it’s also pretty clear that fate (and the FBI) played a role in her path to victory with the indictment of the Machine’s longtime gray eminence, Ed Burke. Every 2019 mayoral candidate who had spent any time in Chicago politics (that would include all the front-runners) had some history, however benign, with this disgraced scoundrel.

With all that said, this morning I thought about another unusual aspect of this now concluded mayoral race. It’s an election dynamic that often appears when an incumbent leaves office with no heir apparent. The Democratic Primary leading up to this mayoral election had a huge number of candidates vying to be mayor. And on Primary Election Day, there were 15 choices for Chicago mayor on the ballot. That is a crazy big number.
Each candidate had a constituency in some part or parts of Chicago which meant no one candidate had an overwhelming numbers advantage over all the others. Few observers were willing to predict a winner. Such a situation can give a less well-known candidate a boost if they can separate themselves from the pack. Ms. Lightfoot did just that – especially after the Burke indictment.
It's hard for me to imagine a Chicago primary race with 15 candidates for a single office ever occurring back when the city’s Democratic machine ruled. – Maybe it happened, I don’t know.
However, today in thinking about February’s prodigious list of Democratic mayoral candidates, I was reminded of the jumbo lineup of GOP presidential hopefuls that showed up for the Republican debates in 2016. (Please understand I’m not saying our party’s recent candidates were similar in any way to that unforgettable gallery of the GOP’s best and brightest that included Ben Carson, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.)
Sixteen Republicans appeared in at least one 2016 presidential debate. Five withdrew after their first appearance. Eleven continued through more of those events. I have no memory of the various positions presented and promises made by those many candidates. But we all know how that 2016 presidential race turned out.
The number of competing Republicans was so large that differentiating the positions of one from another was problematic. The exception was Donald Trump who separated himself from the pack with his outrageous demeanor and un-politic statements. He didn’t win the popular vote across America but he won a majority of electoral votes from states where outrageous and un-politic language was just what those voters wanted to hear.
Looking ahead to 2020, we Democrats presently have a similarly large array of presidential hopefuls to review. There are fourteen declared presidential candidates and at least three more who might decide to run. Will this impressive selection of Democrats still be competing with their ideas and positions next fall when the Democratic primaries are on the horizon? Will the number of Democrats with similar progressive positions blur in the minds of voters? Could there be one candidate who separates him- or herself from the pack in a way none of us anticipated? Yesterday’s newsworthy election in Chicago is a fitting kick-off to what is sure to be an exciting year for Democrats everywhere.

Nels Howard
NTD Member Since 1973
New Trier Democrats' Events
Thursday, May 16, 2019: New Trier Democrats’ Spring Networking Pop-Up

When : Thursday, May 16, 2019 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
What : Let’s get together and talk politics! New Trier Democrats invite you to join us for drinks, mingling and conversation. Here’s a great opportunity to network with like-minded people in our area and form connections with other Dems and activists. Drinks will be available for purchase. This event is not a fundraiser – It’s just an opportunity to have fun and meet other area Dems as well as some of our local representatives.
Other Events of Interest
Inclusion in our "Other Events of Interest" List – whether it’s a fundraising event for a specific candidate or an event concerning a particular issue – does not mean that the New Trier Democrats have endorsed that candidate or adopted that position on an issue. 
Tomorrow, April 4, 2019: Rally to Release the Full Mueller Report

When : Thursday, April 4, 2019 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Where: Federal Plaza, 219 S. Dearborn Street, Chicago
What : Indivisible Chicago is hosting a Rally to #MakeItPublic. Attorney General William Barr missed the Tuesday, April 2 deadline to send the full Mueller Report to Congress. That's the deadline set this week by six House committee chairpersons, after which they will consider Barr to be noncompliant and will put the pressure of the law on him with a subpoena to #MakeItPublic . For more information, see Indivisible Chicago's Facebook event page .
Tomorrow Night, April 4, 2019: Mikva Challenge’s 20th Anniversary Fundraiser

When : Thursday, April 4, 2019: 5:30pm to 6:30pm, Cocktail reception; 6:30pm to 8:30pm, Dinner and program; 8:30pm, Dessert reception
Where : Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Upper Wacker Dr., Chicago
What : Mikva Challenge will host its 20th anniversary fundraiser, 20 Year Forward // Empowering Youth & Renewing Democracy, to raise support for its transformative youth leadership and civic engagement programs in Chicago. The evening will feature a cocktail reception, dinner and program, followed by a dessert reception.  Register and learn more .
This Friday, April 5, 2019: Rep. Jen Gong-Gershowitz Legislative Coffee Date

When : Friday, April 5, 2019 from 10:00am to 11:30am
Where : The Grind, 1837 Glenview Rd., Glenview
What : We Will hosts a legislative coffee date with State Representative Jen Gong-Gershowitz. Food, coffee, networking, comfy legislative chats and childcare included. RSVP kid count too. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online .
This Saturday, April 6, 2019: A Town Hall Discussion On Cannabis Legalization

When : Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 10:00am to 11:30 am
Where : Evanston Civic Center – Parasol Room, 4th Floor, 2100 Ridge Avenue, Evanston
What : This Town Hall discussion on cannabis legalization is being hosted by IL State Senators Heather Steans and Laura Fine, as well as IL State Representatives Robyn Gabel, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz and Kelly Cassidy. Individuals of all viewpoints are invited to attend and learn about proposed cannabis legislation. Please  RSVP here  or contact 847-424-9898 for more information.
This Saturday, April 6, 2019: Warming House Annual Benefit and Silent Auction

When : Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Where : Wilmette Golf Club, 3900 Fairway Drive, Wilmette
What : The Warming House is that place for so many teenagers in our community. A place to go for friendship and support, where we’re always glad you came. Join them for an evening in support of the Warming House Youth Center and local teen programming. The Warming House Youth Center’s annual fundraising benefit is a festive evening featuring appetizers and a buffet, drinks, a silent auction with great sports packages like Cubs tickets with an on-field visit, and a fun Wine Pull event featuring great wines from our Board’s collections. Your $100 ticket includes dinner, drinks, and live music featuring Louie Zagoras. For more information or to purchase tickets,  visit their website.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019: Tenth Dems 9th Annual Poetry and Prose Awards Night

When:  Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at 7:00pm
Where : Jack Benny Center for the Arts, 39 Jack Benny Drive, Waukegan
What : The Tenth Dems 9th Annual Poetry and Prose competition will receive submissions from high school students through March 20, 2019. These students, from Zion, Waukegan and North Chicago, will submit original poetry and prose on the theme of “Respect.”  The student authors of prize-winning pieces, selected by our panels of published poets and past prizewinners, will receive cash gift cards and all participants, who receive Certificates of Participation, are invited to read their submissions. To RSVP,  register online . For more information contact 847-266-VOTE (8683), or email
Thursday, April 18, 2019: Ida’s Legacy Second Annual Luncheon

When : Thursday, April 18, 2019 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm
Where : InterContinental Chicago, 505 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago
What : Ida’s Legacy’s Second Annual Luncheon will feature Faye Wattleton, former CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Ida’s Legacy, in honor of Ida B. Wells, was formed in response to the 2016 election, and is the only Illinois PAC with a focus on developing and supporting progressive African-American women candidates. For more information or to purchase tickets,  register online .
Thursday, April 18, 2019: Lambda Legal’s Bon Foster Civil Rights Celebration

When : Thursday, April 18, 2019 from 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Where : Morgan Manufacturing, 402 N. Morgan St. in Chicago
What : Lambda Legal’s Annual Civil Rights Celebration. Premium open bar, hors d’oeuvres reception and entertainment.  Tickets and Sponsorship Link . Contact Carla Avila, National Events Coordinator, at (312) 663-4413 x 323 for more information.
Saturday, May 4, 2019: A Safe Place 7th Annual EmpoweRun 5K

When : Saturday, May 4, 2019 (Registration begins at 7:30am; Race starts at 9:00am)
Where : Independence Grove Forest Preserve, 16400 Buckley Road in Libertyville
What : Get your team together and run or walk the scenic trails of the forest preserve. All runners receive a t-shirt, goody bag, and access to family fun activities. All proceeds raised that evening help A Safe Place continue to provide lifesaving services for survivors of domestic violence.  Register here .
Saturday, May 4, 2019: CASA Silver Anniversary Gala

When : Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 6:00pm
Where : InterContinental Chicago, 505 Michigan Ave., Chicago
What : Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Lake County holds its Silver Anniversary Gala celebrating the people who helped CASA change the lives of over 2,000 abused and neglected children over the past 25 years. The evening features cocktails, dinner, music, dancing and auctions. Special guest speaker: Alison Myers, former Lake County CASA child. For more information or to purchase tickets,  register online.
Sunday, May 5, 2019: The Stevenson Center on Democracy Hosts “Building MLK’s Beloved Community”

When : Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 2:00pm
Where : The Stevenson Center on Democracy, 25200 N. St. Mary’s Rd., Mettawa (Libertyville)
What : A team from the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago will speak about their work building safe, peaceful and just communities. Director of Programs Chris Patterson will describe Nonviolence Chicago’s background and initiatives; Kejuan Scott, a participant, will talk about how Nonviolence Chicago and the READI program have positively impacted his life; and Teny Gross, the Executive Director, will tell us about Nonviolence Chicago’s role in building and supporting the city-wide collaborative architecture of violence prevention and intervention services.  Register here , and for more information regarding this event contact Tara Dabney via email at
Monday, May 6, 2019: Jan Schakowsky’s Ultimate Women’s Power Lunch With Nancy Pelosi

When : Monday, May 6, 2019. Registration opens: 11:30am, Luncheon and program: 12:00 noon to 2:00pm
Where : Hilton Chicago International Ballroom, 720 South Michigan Ave., Chicago
What : Join Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky at her 18th Annual Ultimate Women’s Power Lunch with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as Keynoter.  Register online. For more information, call Sarah Gersten in Jan’s office at 847-424-1998 or email
Friday, May 10, 2019: A Safe Place Hosts Wine Women & Shoes 2019

When : Friday, May 10, 2019 from 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Where : Lincolnshire Marriott Resort, Ten Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire
What : A Safe Place hosts its third annual Wine Women and Shoes fundraiser. The event features unlimited wine tasting, a multi-designer marketplace, charming Shoe Guys serving up must-have items on silver platters, raffles, silent and live auctions, and other attractions. Proceeds support the work of A Safe Place, assisting victims of domestic violence. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online .
Monday, May 13, 2019: League of Women Voters of Cook Co.’s Annual Meeting With Assessor Fritz Kaegi

When : Monday, May 13, 2019; 9:30am: Registration, Coffee/Muffins; 10:00am: Annual Business Meeting; 11:30am to 1:00pm: Buffet Luncheon
Where : University Center, Lake Room, 525 S. State St., Chicago. Directions and parking info at
What : LWVCC holds its Annual Meeting and Luncheon. Featured speaker at noon: Fritz Kaegi, the new Cook County Assessor. All members of Leagues in Cook County (and friends) are welcome. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online  or email or call 312-939-5935.
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