b. June 21, 1954
Chicago, 40th Ward Alderman (1983-)
Chicago, 40th Ward Democratic Committeeman (1984-)
O’Connor’s status as one of the City Council’s longest serving alderman and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s unofficial floor leader provides him with considerable influence. In his 1988 book, Chicago Politics Ward by Ward, author David K. Fremon described O’Connor’s hiring practices as “All in the Family”, as O’Connor was found to, “have used leftover funds from his committee to provide year-end jobs for fifteen persons, including his mother-in-law, his brother-in-law, his sister-in- law, wives of two former members of his law firm, and the wife of a former staff aide. Some of those hired admitted later that they did not realize they were on the city payroll.” Since then, O’Connor has faced numerous nepotism charges and each time he’s shrugged them off.
A regular election winner today, O’Connor’s victory in 1983 over then-incumbent alderman Ivan Rittenberg proved to be his closest, having fallen just 28 votes short of avoiding a runoff. He unsuccessfully ran for Cook County State’s Attorney twice, in 1990 and again in 1992. In 2009 he came in fifth, behind winner Mike Quigley, for the special election to replace Rahm Emanuel in the 5th Congressional District.
O’Connor is well-known for his decades-long fight to rid his ward of the lodges that constitute “Motel Row” along Lincoln Avenue. After his twenty year effort, O’Connor was featured prominently in the Chicago Tribune exposé, “Neighborhoods For Sale”, which chronicled the connections between O’Connor’s support of developers’ re-zoning proposals and the developers’ hiring of O’Connor’s wife, Barbara O'Connor, as exclusive broker. His wife’s real estate work also figured prominently during his 2015 re-election campaign.
His 2015 opponent, Barbara Daleiden has been busy building an organization for another run against O'Connor in 2019.
An expert at counting votes, O’Connor has served as the unofficial City Council floor leader for both Mayors Daley and Emanuel.
Current Chicago City Council Committees:
- Committee on Aviation
- Committee on Budget and Government Operations
- Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics
- Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development
- Committee on Education and Child Development
- Committee on Finance, Vice Chair
- Committee on Workforce Development and Audit, Chair
- Loyola University, J.D., 1979
Important Political Events
- 1983, Elected 40th Ward Alderman, defeating Ivan RIttenberg in runoff
- 1984, Elected 40th Ward Democratic Committeeman, defeating John Geocaris
- 1990, Defeated for Cook County State's Attorney Democratic Nominee by Cecil Partee
- 1992, Defeated for Cook County State's Attorney by GOP Nominee and incumbent Jack O'Malley
- 2009, Defeated for 5th Congressional Seat special election by Mike Quigley
Chicago Politics Ward by Ward, David K. Fremon, 1988