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Lory Lightfoot, Tony Prekinkel and Bill Daley headed the Chicago Mayor

Former Federal Prosecutor Lory Lightfoot, former US Department of Commerce Bill Daly and Cook's District Council President Tony Prekinkel emerged in a narrow round-the-clock duel in the first round of the mayor's race on Wednesday.

With fewer votes than expected and polls show half a dozen or more candidates at a striking distance, the goal was to break into the first two and qualify for the second round on April 2nd. This is the result if no candidate collects more than 50% of the votes for the first time.

Unofficial results showed Lightfoot with 17.4 percent of the votes, Preckwinkle with 1

5.6 percent and Daley with 14.8 percent with 66 percent of the votes. They were attracted by businessman Willie Wilson with 10%, state controller Susanna Mendoza 9%, Southwest lawyer Jerry Joyce 7%, activist and political consultant Amara Enia 7%, and former CPS president Gerry Chico 6%. The other six candidates, former CPS chief Paul Vallas, former police officer Gary McCarthy, state representative Lasham Ford, former Ald. Bob Fioretti, technology contractor Neil Sales-Griffin, lawyer John Kozlar, each had less than 6 percent.

Stringing results, the potential for a long night, and the prospect of thousands of ballots that have not yet been returned, meant candidates. they were not in a hurry to claim victory or to acknowledge defeat. Late Tuesday, election officials said the city is on the brink of just 34% voter turnout, which will be combined with the first round four years ago, and will surpass a record 33% in 2007 when Mayor Richard Dalyy traveled to the sixth and last term against two lesser-known candidates.

The 14 candidates who competed for the fifth floor office in the City Hall marked the largest mayor field in 181-year history of Chicago. Raman Emanuel's mayoral race, who made the surprise post-Labor statement that he will not seek a third term, comes at a key time for Chicago and unfolds against the background of the ongoing federal corruption investigation into the mayoralty.

Many have promised to improve policing and reduce crime, while committing to relief from long-term tax increases. But most of them also have not detailed plans on how to deal with city retirement problems and budget scarcity, rather than pointing to hopes for a casino in Chicago and a share of legalized marijuana revenue as a panacea.

During the last six months, the mayoral race was defined by a series of twists, no one dominating more than the federal check-up in the mayoralty, which led all candidates to offer a series of ethical reforms.

The campaign began with a dozen people claiming to be causing Emmanuel, some with links to the mayor. Eight of them will make the final vote – Lightfoot, McCarthy, Vallas, Wilson, Enyia, Joyce, Sales-Griffin and Kozlar.

The group's satisfaction with the mayor's withdrawal from the September race will be short-lived. The candidates had to calibrate their campaigns against Emanuel, while seeing their efforts to raise money for the campaign and get their message from four heavyweight candidates who will soon enter the competition. When he dropped out, Emanuel predicted that none of the nominees would become the next mayor, saying that more than one "trick" is needed to manage the third largest city in America.

A few weeks later it became clear that the federal investigation was not limited to Burke, as it was revealed that the long-standing Ald. For several years, Danny Solis wore a wire for his colleagues as he faced his own allegations of misconduct. Also enlisted by the FBI: Chief House Chief Michael Madigan, who is looking for a business in his law firm by a business owner who needs Solis' approval at the City Hall.

While the Solis and Madigan were not accused of abuse, the political damages

The episode sparked similar federal studies that brought down senior members working in the Dylan brother's administration, Richard M. Daley, when he served as mayor. Daley's family has also been Burke's political donors, with whom he has been involved in the mayoral service for decades.

Chico is allowed to "deny" his close friend and mentor Burke, who earlier backed Chico by calling him a mayor candidate. Opponents also hurried to point out how Chico long lobbied Burke and Solis on behalf of clients looking for city hall deals.

Mendoza, who married Burke's home, also condemned the man who helped start the policy of the Southwest. She gave $ 10,000 in donations to Burke's charity campaign and did the same with another $ 142,000 related to Solis.

But that was Preckwinkle, who bore Burke's weight, linked directly to the scandal of the 50-year anniversary announcement of

She also donated $ 12,000 in Burke's charity and promised to return another 116 000 dollars she has received at a collector of funds in the Gage Park complex. Previnkle also had to explain why she had hired Burke's son Ed Burke, a six-digit job in the county, until he had faced charges of sexual harassment in his previous job with Cook's Sheriff.

The tip of the other controversies of Prevengle. She misleads the public about this when she knows about the charges of sexual harassment against her head of staff to whom she is fired. She waited a few months before launching her security boss after evidence came to light that the regional jeep she was driving was used for the illegal transportation of political material. And just last week, she shot a senior campaign aide after calling on the Nazis to criticize Lightfoot for a post in the social media.

All this made Preckwinkle describe the campaign in the last days of the race in one word: "hard."

Anyone who is elected the next mayor of Chicago will be faced with many great challenges when they enter office in mid-May.

Over the last three years, the city has been struggling to reduce the recurring wave of violent crimes, which left 561 dead and 2948 people shot last year, and the police department is facing a federal consent decision that will lead to departmental reform history of abuse and excessive force against minorities.

Chicago has to come up with an additional $ 1 billion Payments to public servants' pensions by 2023, including $ 270 million next year, at a time when taxpayers are already tired after two Emanuel conditions that record record increases of the real estate tax, while other city stabilization fees are being charged

And the next mayor faces a growing gap between rich corporate success and the thriving development of the city center and dozens of mainly African-American neighborhoods they have collapsed with a sharp decline in the population after decades of economic downturn and gang violence. 19659002] bruthhart@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @BillRuthhart

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