CHICAGO — Longtime Ald. Deb Mell (33rd) is heading to a likely runoff with challenger Rossana Rodriguez after failing to land the majority of the vote.
With 96.45 percent of precincts reporting, Mell and Rodriguez were tied — each with 41.59 percent of the vote.
A third candidate, Katie Sieracki, had the remaining 16.81 percent of the vote.
Rodriguez, a community activist, said in a Tuesday night statement that these numbers signified an end to Chicago’s machine politics.
“We’ve been told for such a long time what isn’t possible,” Rodriguez said in the statement. “We are going to build a new 33rd Ward — not for the rich and powerful few, but for the many — for immigrants, for students and seniors, and for all working people.”
If elected in April, Rodriguez will make history as the ward’s first Latinx alderman.
The diverse 33rd Ward has a low crime rate and some thriving business strips, but could use more affordable housing, candidates said throughout the race.
Mell’s two challengers touted similar beliefs: more affordable housing, more funding for public schools and protecting immigrant communities and LGBTQ residents.
But what set Rodriguez’s campaign apart was a commitment to progressive ideas. A growing swath of the ward’s voters have taken issue with Mell’s “yes” vote on a $95 million police and fire academy.
Candidates also sparred over aldermanic privilege during a mid-February forum.
Rodriguez’s popularity among progressive groups was evidenced by her 13 endorsements, which included nods from the National Nurses Union, Democratic Socialists of America and the Chicago Teachers Union.
A few elected officials, from Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa to State Rep. Will Guzzardi, also supported Rodriguez-Sanchez.
Mell was endorsed by the Chicago Sun-Times, the LGBTQ Victory Fund, the Equality Illinois PAC and the Chicago AFL-CIO.
The 33rd Ward covers parts of Ravenswood Manor, Avondale, Albany Park and Irving Park.