Brian Doherty

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Brian Doherty

b. October 25, 1957

Chicago, 41st Ward Alderman (1991-2011)

The 41st Ward is famously Chicago's "Republican Ward". For decades the Ward has delivered for Republican candidates and in 2000 and 2004 delivered more than 40% of its votes for President George W. Bush, an anomaly considering the citywide vote for Bush was around 15% in both elections.

Although the Ward mostly elects Republican candidates, Democrat and Chicago Polish political icon Roman Pucinski dominated Ward politics for three decades. Elected to Congress under Mayor Richard J. Daley's watch, Pucinski left Congress to take the 41st Ward Alderman seat in 1973. In Pucinski's day the Northwest Side was a global Polish bastion, making Chicago the world's second largest Polish-speaking city after Warsaw. "Pooch" used his power to unsuccessfully run for Mayor in 1977, slate his daughter Aurelia Pucinski for an unsuccessful run for Secretary of State, before successfully running for Cook County Clerk of the Court in 1988.

But as the Polish community became less immigrant and more integrated they became less politically active and Pucinski gradually lost his political base. Finally seeing his chance, then-Republican Committeeman and State Representative Roger McAuliffe ran Doherty against Pucinski and Doherty won.

Brian G. Doherty is the sole Republican on Chicago’s fifty-member City Council. His constituent neighborhoods are the traditional homes of the city’s vast labor force, in particular police officers and firefighters, and upper-level Streets and Sanitation employees. Anti-tax activism and social conservatism on issues of race, immigration, and sexuality are Doherty’s electoral staples, and reflect generally the values of his constituents.

Doherty was first elected in 1991 with the backing of McAuliffe and a GOP organization that had been strengthened by the “Council Wars” years of Mayor Harold Washington. Since 1991, Doherty and the McAuliffe family—the late Roger McAuliffe and his son, current state representative and Ward GOP Committeeman Michael McAuliffe—have built an impressive ward organization that dominates the city’s far Northwest Side. The relationship of the 41st Ward to O’Hare airport also creates a strong relationship between that ward and the suburban community of Rosemont, whose late Mayor, Donald Stephens, was also a patron of Doherty’s.

Doherty’s hobby horse is taxes, although he regularly votes for the Mayor’s budgets. Northwest Side Democrats have tried for years to oust Doherty based on party identification, but Doherty consistently wins by significant margins.

As alderman Doherty has been a steady vote for Daley, with the exception of the occasional anti-tax vote and as the sole vote against the 2005 Smoking Ban Ordinance. Doherty's name showed up on the "clout list" of job requests unearthed by the Hired Truck Investigation, suggesting that he isn't much different from Chicago's Democratic aldermen.

Doherty's main political occupation has been to ensure the reelection of ally Michael McAuliffe, a perennial target of Illinois State House Democrats, and to defend McAuliffe's GOP committeeman spot from former Senator Walter Dudycz in 2004.

During the 2007 election cycle, Doherty faced down a mini-scandal when video [1] appeared on YouTube of the Alderman drinking heavily at a bar, and then getting into his car and driving home. Doherty denied that he was drunk.

He retired his seat in 2011.

Was a Chicago Golden Gloves boxer in 1973, 1974 and 1975, and was a Golden Gloves Finalist and Champion. He was a Chicago Park District Champion as a boxer from La Follette Park.

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