Patricia Van Pelt Watkins
b. November 12, 1957
Illinois, State Senate (2013-)
A West Side political activist, Van Pelt Watkins ran a quixotic fifth-place campaign for Mayor in 2011 where she earned the most attention when fellow candidate Carol Moseley Braun called her a "crack addict" in a televised debate.
Capitalizing on her improved name recognition, Van Pelt Watkins was recruited in 2012 by 27th Ward Organization leaders Ald. Walter Burnett and Secretary of State Jesse White to defeat recently appointed State. Sen. Annazette Collins in a long-running proxy war with 28th Ward Ald. Jason Ervin and then-Ward Committeeman Ed Smith over the senate seat. Collins, who was a sporadic campaigner at best, was brought down by Van Pelt Watkins' energy.
In the 2016 Primary, one-time Alderman and mayoral candidate Robert Fioretti challenged Van Pelt Watkins with a well-financed campaign. But Fioretti's message never caught on, and Van Pelt Watkins cruised to victory 68-32%.
Important Political Events
- 2011, Defeated for Mayor by Rahm Emanuel
- 2012, Elected to State Senate, defeating Annazette Collins
- 2016, Reelected to State Senate, defeating Robert Fioretti