An Election Day for the books
Happy Election Day, Illinois. It’s well above freezing and there’s no rain, so no excuse for not voting.
It’s Election Day in Chicago, but don’t expect results right away.
Voters will choose from among nine candidates to lead the city, including incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot. If no one captures 50 percent of the vote (and it’s statistically all but unlikely), then the top two will go to a runoff. Lightfoot’s team is confident she’ll make it. But she’s still hitting hard at rivals, an indication of how close this race really is.
As POLITICO’s Jonathan Martin reports, concerns about crime have put Lightfoot at risk of becoming the first Chicago mayor to lose reelection in 40 years. It’s “hardly just a Chicago story,” he writes, but Lightfoot’s prickly style has compounded her situation.
“When I asked Lightfoot if she had regrets, she didn’t hesitate. …‘We made mistakes.’ Yet she was quick to say she learned from those errors and, perhaps recognizing the voters she needs to mobilize, said she was judged more harshly as a Black woman. …
“‘I remember Rahm Emanuel appearing on the cover of Time magazine, the headline was basically like: ‘Tough guy for Chicago,’ she recalled. ‘No woman or woman of color is ever going to get that headline.’”
Paul Vallas is confident, too, having appeared in the lead in a range of polls. But he’s stayed out of the public eye in recent days after fumbling to explain how his Twitter feed liked racist and bigoted posts.
Also in the battle: Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, businessman Willie Wilson, state Rep. Kam Buckner, Ald. Sophia King, Ald. Roderick Sawyer and activist Ja’Mal Green.
Past elections have seen runoffs decided on Election Night. But with 100,843 outstanding mail-in-ballots, according to the Chicago Board of Elections, no one’s expecting that tonight given the margin between the second and third-place finishers could be close. That means it could take days to determine who goes to the runoff.
So far, there have been 244,580 ballots cast. Four years ago on the day before the election, 165,025 people had voted.
Election drama Chicago-style: Counting could continue for another two weeks while mail-in-ballots trickle in. And if the vote is still close, a candidate could even take legal action to challenge the numbers. Meanwhile, the clock will tick closer to the runoff making it difficult to campaign.
Timing for tonight: At 7 p.m. when voting ends, all vote-by-mail ballots that have been received through Tuesday will be fully tabulated and with the flip of a switch, results will immediately be revealed. That’s the same for early-voting ballots. The ballots cast today will be included once precincts start transmitting their results, as early as 7:10 p.m.
What to watch: Turnout for the aldermanic races will also impact the mayoral contest. The 4th, 9th and 21st wards are Black wards with high-profile aldermanic races that could bring out voters for Lightfoot and Wilson, according to Cor Strategies, which has been studying the breakdowns.
More Cor Strategies stats: Vallas is expected to do well in the working-class white wards 13, 19 and 41. And Garcia will likely do well in the South Side Latino wards 12, 14 and 22. The West Side Black wards 28, 29 and 37 could go for Johnson, Lightfoot or Wilson.
Ward by ward numbers for early voting, via the Chicago Board of Elections.
A recap from WBEZ: “The election is largely a referendum on the record of the first-term mayor, who has spent much of her four years in office dealing with unprecedented challenges brought by the global Covid-19 pandemic, civil unrest after the police murder of George Floyd and a spike in crime that cities across the country have grappled with,” by Mariah Woelfel and Tessa Weinberg.
— THE JUICE: Spending leading up to the election has outpaced the 2019 mayoral election. Four years ago, only one candidate — Bill Daley, who finished third — spent more than $2 million in that time frame, reports POLITICO’s Madison Fernandez in her Morning Score newsletter.
Around $18 million has been booked on ads since the beginning of the year in the nine-person dash for Chicago mayor, Fernandez reports. Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas is leading the pack, with over $4 million spent, per AdImpact. Behind him is Mayor Lori Lightfoot and businessman Willie Wilson, who have put in around $3.6 million each in that timeframe. Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson have spent around $3 million each. Outside groups aren’t a dominant force in ad spending.
— Progressive leaders can blame themselves if Garcia or Johnson fail to make mayoral runoff, by Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet
FIRST UP: House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch was in Washington, D.C., on Monday, for a historic meeting of five Black statehouse speakers from across the country. There are five.
“We’re all the firsts,” he told Playbook, saying the position comes with challenges to succeed.
At the table: Welch joined speakers Rachel Talbot Ross of Maine, Adrienne Jones of Maryland, Joe Tate of Michigan, and Carl Heastie of New York.
The group shared their successes and talked about challenges, finding out they had some in common.
Migrant issues: Welch said he and the speakers from New York and Maine all had concerns, for example, about helping migrants in their states. And they vowed to push for more federal help on the matter.
The hosts: Julie Chavez Rodriguez, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Susan Rice, the president’s domestic policy adviser, made note of the speakers’ concerns.
Welch also drew a chuckle when he listed accomplishments since becoming speaker, including abortion protections, an elections omnibus bill, budget successes, passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act and the assault weapons ban.
Only half joking: It prompted Rice to respond: “How are you getting that stuff done? You’re ahead of us.”
If you are Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Playbook would like to hear how your grandfather, Cesar Chavez, inspired your work. Email [email protected].
No official public events.
Waiting for results.
No official public events.
Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: [email protected]
— Illinois AG pushes back on bail reform challenge from prosecutors in final SAFE-T Act appeal brief before arguments: “The justices will now hear oral arguments in the case on March 14 in Springfield to decide whether the pretrial provisions of the sweeping SAFE-T Act violate the state’s constitution,” by Tribune’s Madeline Buckley.
— As many as 700,000 Illinois residents could lose Medicaid health coverage this year, by Tribune’s Lisa Schencker
— Illinois officials push for legislation to help families of fallen first responders receive timely benefits, by Shaw Local’s Felix Sarver
— Illinois put a stop to local governments’ ability to kill solar and wind projects. Will other Midwestern states follow? Inside Climate News’ Dan Gearino and Aydali Campa report
— The audio of the 2021 executive session about Wyndham’s $1.25M utility bill is released, by State Journal-Register’s Steven Spearie
— GOOD EXPLAINER: Voters will decide on newly formed police districts: “The change is part of a long-running effort by community advocates to assert more civilian influence over the Chicago Police Department,” report WTTW’s Brandis Friedman and Andrea Guthmann.
— Crime means different things to different Chicagoans this Election Day, by PBS NewsHour’s John Yang
— Mundelein candidate who argued Asian people are smarter than others drops out of race: “Sharma’s departure leaves three incumbents — Eric Schwenk, Kara Lambert and Kerston Russell — and former Trustee Robin Meier running for three seats on the board,” by Daily Herald’s Russell Lissau.
— O’Hare receives $50M in federal grant money for upgrades at Terminal 3: “The funds will be used for upgrades at Terminal 3, including an expanded passenger corridor and approximately 10,000 square feet of new concessions and amenity spaces,” by Sun-Times’ Emmanuel Camarillo.
— From Bessie Coleman to the Tuskegee Airmen, African-American aviation history took off in Chicago, by WGN 9’s David Jennings
— Tornadoes touch down in Joliet, Naperville, reports the National Weather Service, by Sun-Times’ Emmanuel Camarillo
— Mayors urge feds to slow merger after Ohio rail disaster, by Daily Herald’s Marni Pyke
— Walgreens to sell off Deerfield buildings, shrinking its HQ as more employees work from home, by Tribune’s Brian J. Rogal
— Illinois among 12 blue states suing the FDA, saying it’s too strict in limiting abortion drugs, via CNN
— Top Chicago mob figure James ‘Jimmy I’ Inendino worked as FBI informant, by ABC 7’s Chuck Goudie, Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner
We asked what’s keeping you from voting, and it’s good to know that maybe most of you have already turned in your ballots.
David Dalka: “Candidates worthy of my vote.”
Which celebrity best represents the decade you were born in? Email [email protected]
— Indian Americans rapidly climbing political ranks: “Within the Indian American community, political involvement wasn’t really a high priority, because I think people were much more focused on establishing themselves economically and supporting their community endeavors,” said Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. “I think that once they started seeing people like us getting elected and seeing why it mattered, then political involvement became a part of their civic hygiene.” The New York Times’ Maggie Astor and Jill Cowan report.
— Biden and Harris highlight Black history, warn not to try ‘to erase America’s past,’ by ABC News’ Isabella Murray
— The Trump vs. DeSantis proxy battle shapes up with dueling CPAC vs. Club for Growth events, by POLITICO’s Natalie Allison and Alex Isenstadt
— One House Republican’s unique anti-Santos pitch: Block him from profiting off his lies, by POLITICO’s Olivia Beavers
— Quieter Senate gives Fetterman recovery room, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett, Marianne Levine and Daniella Diaz
— Jennifer Aguilar is now executive director of Little Village Chamber of Commerce. Aguilar was a community outreach specialist at Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Network. She’s also served as a Little Village Chamber board member since 2017 and took on the role of board secretary from 2019 to 2023.
MONDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to former Bridget Hatch for correctly answering that June 21, 1970, the Toledo, Peoria and Western Railroad Company’s Train No. 20 derailed in downtown Crescent City. A propane tank car ruptured, and explosions caused fires that destroyed the city center, including numerous houses and businesses.
TODAY’s QUESTION: What former Chicago evangelical church is now home to a circus act? Email [email protected]
State Rep. La Shawn Ford, state Sen. Rob Martwick, Clifford Law Offices comms partner Pam Menaker, attorney and former Trump state director Kent Gray, petition circulator Sharon Rosenblum, incoming investment banking summer analyst Jack Fetsch and Tribune political reporter John Byrne.
And happy birthday to state Sen. Jil Tracy, who would celebrate on Feb. 29.
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February 28, 2023 at 10:24AM