The people of the City of Chicago has spoken and there will be a runoff for the Mayoral election on April 7. Although, the voter turnout was low for this local election; it showed a slim margin between Emanuel pulling 45.35 percent and Commissioner Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia challenging him with 33.94 percent of the Chicago vote. Willie Wilson closing in third place with 10.56 percent, Bob Fioretti following behind him with 7.39 percent- in fourth place. Repeat Mayoral candidate, William ‘Dock’ Walls barely scratching the surface with 2.76 percent of the voter count. Now both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia will face off for the Mayor’s seat and this is when we’ll see the gloves come off.
This race was very concentrated on the immediate topics at hand- education, jobs, public safety and economic development and each candidate was held accountable for their platform. For the past few days, candidates ‘Chuy’ Garcia and Willie Wilson had aggressively increased visibility through television advertisements spots on major television networks, guerrilla marketing and hand-to-hand presence with voters on the streets. Unfortunately, Fioretti’s social media and ‘reality check’ approach wasn’t strong enough to impact Emanuel, Garcia and Wilson’s influence.
With everything riding on how much money Emanuel has raised in his $30 million political war chest- we’re sure this turn of events was not a situation he banked on but one he wasn’t surprised at either. In order to avoid a runoff, he had to secure 51 percent overall to maintain avoid a runoff in April.
One of the key candidates that stood out in this race was businessman Willie Wilson who invested his own campaign money. Congressman Danny K. Davis supported Wilson’s campaign understanding the odds weren’t in his favor for an election win.
“He will be a winner because he had the courage, the determination and the fortitude to get in the race and run it. He didn’t have all of the politically experience, but he had enough determination to know that you can win on the sidelines- you have to be out in the field. You have to be in the contest,” Davis said.
The last day for absentee voting was on Monday and to avoid Tuesday’s election where many were left waiting for long periods during the Illinois Governor’s race back in November. Everyone had their troops out in full force to make their presence known in each ward where voters will went to the polls to re-elect or vote out their Aldermen. Out of the 50 aldermanic wards; 18 wards are considered a part of the Black Aldermanic Caucus which played a huge role in pushing out support for the Mayoral candidates.
Returning to the city council floor are incumbents; Pat Dowell (3rd ward), Will Burns (4th ward), Leslie A. Hairston (5th ward), Roderick T. Sawyer (6th ward), Michelle A. Harris (8th ward), Anthony A. Beale (9th ward), Willie B. Cochran (20th ward), Howard B. Brookins, Jr. (21st ward), Walter Burnett, Jr. (27th ward), Jason C. Irvin (28th ward), Deborah L. Graham (29th ward), Carrie M. Austin (34th ward), Emma Mitts (37th ward) and transitioning from the 15th ward seat is Toni Foulkes (16th ward).
Newly elected alderman David Moore will be representing the 17th ward.
There were key referendums on the ballot as an option to hear voter’s voice on issues such as ‘should employees of the City of Chicago be treated if convicted of domestic violence as a condition of employment?’ and almost every ward asked voters ‘should the City of Chicago have an Elected School Board?’ Voters unanimously favored both an elected school board, and employees of the City of Chicago should seek treatment as a condition of continued employment.
With so much going on in Springfield under Governor Rauner and the drastic changes that are being proposed to slim down a major state deficit; whoever takes the crown will need to show his allegiance for the people and not for the powerfully elite. This Mayoral election is not over and the stakes are very high- now the real fight begins. A fight that will seal one’s fate and legacy as the next Mayor of the third largest city in the U.S. All eyes will be watching.