Tunney vs. Ricketts: Backlash from Cubs patriarch's racist emails may affect 44th ward aldermanic race

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The 44th ward aldermanic race may be impacted by racist emails from Joe Ricketts, the patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs.

The mailers in the race for alderman are about as negative and nasty as the weather today. Many are aimed at incumbent Tom Tunney. Will he soon return fire by using Ricketts' racist emails as a campaign issue?

"I don't have any sympathy for the Ricketts and some of their bigoted remarks, that aside they have been trying to run me out of office for a couple years," Tunney said.

Tunney has shaped this race as a fight between him and the Ricketts family. The Cubs owners have made no secrets about the fact they would like Tunney out. Tom Ricketts is candidate Elizabeth Shydlowski's biggest donor. While the other challenger Austin Baidas is not taking contributions from corporations, packs or developers, organizations that insiders say are tied to the Ricketts have been flooding mailboxes with anti-Tunney flyers. Almost all connect Tunney to Alderman Ed Burke and corruption.

"I have to protect my name and reputation, I will not lie down and have people falsely accuse me of being a crook," said Tunney.

Baidas and and Shydlowski say the race is about replacing the status quo, not the Chicago Cubs. While both denounce Joe Ricketts comments, Tunney's opponents say the Tunney-Ricketts feud is nothing more than a distraction.

"It's really a distraction from Tom Tunney voting record, his votes have been hurtful to residents of the 44th Ward," said Shydlowski.

"I hear from residents, they are concerned about public safety, education and their taxes," said Baidas.

The Cubs are hoping voters are more concerned about other issues besides Joe Ricketts emails. Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts released a statement this week distancing the team from his father.
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