Moreno loses 1st Ward Chicago Alderman seat in upset to La Spata
In one of the upsets in Tuesday's city-wide elections in Chicago, 1st Ward Alderman Proco Joe Moreno, whose private life raised questions in the run-up to voting day, lost his seat of about eight years to challenger Daniel La Spata.
With almost all precincts reporting, New Jersey native La Spata defeated Morena by taking 61 percent of the vote.
La Spata, who moved to Chicago when he was attending college, was a Logan Square Neighborhood Association board member for more than 10 years before he became its vice president. He also is well-known for his support of new affordable housing, including the 61-residential-unit Zapata Apartments on North Avenue, in addition to pushing legislation to provide protections for renters living in properties facing foreclosure.
Moreno, who has lived in Wicker Park for more than 20 years and who has been 1st Ward Alderman since 2011, previously served on the Jose De Diego Community Academy School Council and as a Humboldt Park Social Services board member. He became chairman of the Committee on Human Relations and the Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Moreno's difficulties in his private life, including problems in his 2016 marriage and a report to police last month that a "single mother", who turned out to be his girlfriend, had stolen his car, attracted considerable attention just prior to Tuesday's election. His girlfriend, 35-year-old Lilya Hrabar of Des Plaines, later provided police with text messages that indicated she borrowed the vehicle with Moreno's permission after spending the previous night with him.
WGN-TV also reported a former Moreno aide alleged he asked staff members to take their shirts off at a bar in 2015.
La Spata's campaign was not without controversy. Earlier this month, La Spata apologized "unequivocally" after a 2013 photo surfaced of him in a banana costume with friends wearing monkey masks, which many considered racist, according to reports from Patch.