Tuesday, February 26, 2019

EXTRA: A “first,” a last, and more of just the same – election day in Chicago

The vote tally is still taking place, and it’s not clear whether we’re going to have a chance at a third incarnation of a “Mayor Daley,” or if we’re going to get the city’s first black woman to hold the office of “Hizzoner.”
Daley III. Or not close enough?
Or “Heronner,” if we want to be strictly accurate about things.

TUESDAY WAS AN Election Day that threatened to have the lowest voter turnout ever for a mayoral election, and it was only because of a final surge at the end of the day at polling places that the turnout crept just above the 33 percent record that was set back in 2007.

That was the final re-election for Richard M. Daley, by which time many people were tired of the son of Richard J. So the trick was whether enough time had passed that another son of Richard J. might actually succeed.

After about two hours of ballot counting, William Daley’s mayoral campaign had 14.7 percent of the votes. Which in this election cycle with 14 candidates seeking the mayor’s office was good enough for third.

Or just close enough that he can’t qualify for an April 2 run-off election.

THE TOP TWO slots were being held by Toni Preckwinkle (16 percent of the vote) and Lori Lightfoot (at 17.4 percent). With votes in more than 200 precincts across the city still to be counted, it could still be possible for the one-time chief of staff to President Barack Obama could manage to creep into second place – and therefore be in the run-off for mayor.
Is Preckwinkle or Lightfoot (below) … 

But if things manage to stand as they already are, we’ll be facing a Preckwinkle/Lightfoot brawl.

Both of whom are black women, which would be a “first” for Chicago. Although I’m sure there are certain kinds of people who deliberately cast their ballots Tuesday in ways meant to prevent such a “first” from being achieved.
… more fitting of the character … 

It is kind of humorous the way this election cycle has shaped up. Preckwinkle was the one-time darling of those who considered themselves politically progressive, but now is regarded as just another political hack.

HOW ELSE TO describe a one-time alderman (albeit from the Hyde Park neighborhood) and county board president?
… of former Mayor Jane Byrne?

Whereas Lightfoot is a former federal prosecutor and head of the Chicago Police Board. Not usually credentials that would gain anybody political support from people of progressive leanings.

But in this election cycle, some people seem so eager to vote for anybody who’s never held elective office before. As though we’re eager to have a political amateur in place.

Consider that some 52 percent of people who cast ballots actually voted for someone other than the three people who are dominating the vote. This really is an election cycle in which we, the electorate, couldn’t reach a consensus.
Chance the Rapper not enough for Enyia win

SO WE’LL LIKELY find out in coming days whether we have a chance at another “Mayor Daley,” or someone to remind us of the days of Jane Byrne’s mayoral stint. About the only thing we can say is that the influence of Chance the Rapper (who financially backed candidate Amara Enyia’s campaign) was only good for about 8 percent of the vote.

Which was good enough to top the 5.5 percent that one-time Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas managed to get in his mayoral bid.
Burke held against everyone but himself

But before you start to think that we’re in for total change, keep in mind the aldermanic races – where Edward M. Burke’s legal problems and his ties to so many political people were being blamed for the failure of candidates to finish strong. Even Preckwinkle supposedly didn’t finish first because of such ties.

But as for Burke himself? It seems he got re-elected without having to do a run-off – he got some 55 percent of the vote – even though his ward has developed an overwhelmingly Latino population and some were counting on that factor as being enough to dump Burke. It seems that voters will hold Burke against other people, while not hesitating to vote for the man himself!


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