(WBBM NEWSRADIO) – It’ll be a race to the runoff for West Side Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) — and a sigh of relief for Logan Square Ald.
Daniel La Spata (1st).
The official final results including all eligible mail-in ballots counted by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners on Wednesday put Taliaferro 25 votes shy of the majority he needed to win a third term in the City Council outright after the Feb. 28 election.
That places Taliaferro among six incumbent alderpersons forced into runoff contests on April 4, in addition to races for eight other open Council seats and the mayoral showdown between Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas.
In the ward races, La Spata found himself just barely on the safe side of the 50% bubble, securing a second term with only 14 votes above the majority required to spare him a runoff
Taliaferro, an ally of outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot, had cruised to reelection in 2019.
Now, he faces another political round, squaring off against community organizer CB Johnson. Since Feb. 28, Taliaferro, the chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee had been narrowly avoiding a runoff until election officials reported 112 ballots for write-in candidates over the weekend.
Those ballots widened the vote pool enough to sink Taliaferro below the 50% mark; he ended up just shy of 49.8%, compared to 39.8% for Johnson.
Election board spokesman Max Bever said his agency hasn’t been able to find another example throughout the city’s colorful electoral history of write-in ballots being a deciding factor in forcing an incumbent to a runoff.
A campaign spokesperson for Johnson, who is backed by U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, called it “the best example of democracy in action.”
A handful of other sitting Council members have been gearing up for runoffs since the February election, including Ald. Gilbert Villegas, who is up against teacher Lori Torres Whitt, and Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th), who is facing attorney Megan Mathias.
Three Council members appointed by Lightfoot to fill vacancies over the past year will also have to defend their seats: Ald. Nicole Lee (11th) against Chicago Police Officer Anthony Ciaravino; Ald. Monique Scott (24th) against business owner Creative Scott; and Ald. Timmy Knudsen (43rd) against Sheffield Neighborhood Association president Brian Comer.
Runoffs are also in the offing for eight wards without incumbents.
On the South Side, state Rep. Lamont Robinson faces Prentice Butler in the 4th Ward; Desmon Yancy is squaring off against Tina Hone in the 5th; William Hall is vying against Richard Wooten in the 6th; Chicago Police Officer Peter Chico is competing with Ana Guajardo in the 10th; and Ronnie Mosley is running against Cornell Dantzler in the 21st.
In the Northwest Side’s 30th Ward, Jessica Gutiérrez and Ruth Cruz are running. And on the North Side, Angela Clay and Kim Walz are squaring off in the 46th, and Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth and Joe Dunne are competing in the 48th.
As for the final mayoral election results, Vallas led with 32.9% of the vote, compared to 21.6% for Johnson, 16.8% for Lightfoot and about 13.7% for U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
Citywide voter turnout in February ended up at 35.9%, a slight increase from 35.5% in 2019.
Early voting for the runoff starts Monday.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire & Chicago Sun-Times 2023. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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March 15, 2023 at 10:31PM