The votes from Chicago’s Feb. 28 first-round election became official Wednesday and West Side Ald. Chris Taliaferro joined several others in having to win a runoff in less than three weeks to keep his spot.
The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners certified the results, setting up an April 4 personal battle between Taliaferro and longtime West Side activist and politician C.B. Johnson, who became chairman of the 29th District.
As recently as a few days ago, Tagliaferro was getting more than 50% of the vote in the first round of voting, but that changed in the following days as more mail-in ballots were counted.
The 29th Ward race is one of 14 runoffs on the alderman ballot, as well as a mayoral runoff pitting Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson against former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Wallace.
In addition to Tagliafer, other incumbent aldermen won in 2019: Gilbert Villegas, 36th, who will face Leonor “Laurie” Torres Whitt, and Jim Gardiner, 45th, who will face Megan Mathias. Two more incumbents are going to the second round — Ald. Nicole Lee, 11th, and Ald. Monique Scott, 24, was recently appointed to the council by Mayor Laurie Lightfoot. Lee faces Anthony Ceravino while Scott faces Creative Scott.
Other city council elections that will be represented in the runoff include the 4th, 5th, 6th, 10th, 21st, 30th, 43rd, 46th and 48th districts.
Ald. Daniel La Spata, No. 1, passed the first round with 50.1%, just 15 more than he needed to avoid a runoff against attorney Sam Royk in the northwest district, which includes parts of Wicker Park. Ukrainian Village, West Town and Logan Square. , reports the panel.
Now that the election results have been certified, candidates have five days to request a recount as a prelude to going to court to challenge the official results. State statute allows only candidates with less than 5% of the declared winner to request a recount, and Rojko wasn’t that close to La Spata in Ward’s 1st race. Rojko won 23.4% of the vote, while two other candidates split the rest.
Rojko released a statement Wednesday praising La Spata for a tough race “decided by a handful of votes — a reminder that every vote counts.”
Royko promised to remain active in the chamber, adding that “this is not the end yet.”
Tagliaferro said Wednesday that he has no plans to contest the results.
Overall, 35.85% of Chicago’s registered voters cast ballots in the Feb. 28 election, compared to a 35.45% turnout in 2019, according to the Election Commission.
Tagliaferro ended the night of February 28 with more than 50% of the vote cast in the three-candidate election in the district, which zigzagging along the western border of the city from Austin through part of Galewood all the way north to Dunning on the NW side.
But mail-in ballots continued to arrive in the weeks that followed. According to the council, the two candidates for the 29th district received a total of 112 votes, and Tagliafer’s share of the total fell to 49.75%. Johnson received 39.8%, while activist Corey Dooley received 9.3%.
The top two vote getters advance to the second round if no one gets more than half.