Despite a $15 million war chest that was about four times the amount of money raised by his four challengers combined, Mayor Rahm Emanuel garnered less than the 50 percent plus one vote threshold necessary to avoid an April 7 runoff.
With about 45 percent of the vote, Emanuel beat Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who garnered nearly 40 percent of the vote, by less than 55,000 votes. As of press time, more than 95 percent of precincts had reported.
A similar fate awaits more than a third of incumbent aldermen throughout the city, many of whom have been supporters of Emanuel during his first term. Nine of the top ten aldermen who have received the most money from the pro-Emanuel fundraising committee Chicago Forward have been forced into runoffs.
Both Ald. Deborah Graham (29th) and Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) garnered less than the 50 percent plus one threshold required for an outright victory.
Graham, who received more than $60,000 from Chicago Forward–the most of any incumbent alderman according to DNAinfo–garnered 40 percent of the vote in a field of eight candidates. She’ll face police officer and attorney Chris Taliaferro, who garnered about 23 percent of the vote, in April. Graham has more than ten times the amount of cash on hand as Taliaferro and she’ll need to use a significant portion of it if she hopes to stave off the 60 percent of voters who punched a number other than hers.
Emma Mitts received the ninth highest amount of money from Chicago Forward among incument aldermen with more than $36,000. Mitts, who was polling at 55 percent days before the election, received about 49 percent of the vote in the 37th Ward, with about 32 percent going to her CTU-backed opponent Tara Stamps.
Stamps, who has the most formidable fundraising advantage among challengers in both the 29th and 37th Wards, nonetheles had much less cash on hand near the end of the race than Mitts.
From tonight’s results, however, it seems that the financial disparity may prove a lot less daunting than the disparity in enthusiasm. That can’t be measured in dollars and cents.