Evanston’s municipal primary results: Biss wins, incumbents lose

Sari Oppenheimer, Assistant News Editor

Shortly after polls closed for Evanston’s consolidated primary election on Feb. 23, the results for mayor, city clerk, 4th Ward alderman and 8th Ward alderman were counted. The races for mayor and city clerk resulted in clear wins for Daniel Biss and Stephenie Mendoza. To win in the primary, a candidate was required to get over 50 percent of the vote. The races for 4th and 8th Ward alderpeople resulted in no candidate receiving more than 50 percent of the vote; as such, the top two candidates from each ward will appear on the ballot on April 6 for Evanston’s consolidated municipal election.

Daniel Biss won the mayoral race with 7,080 votes out of 9,668 total ballots cast—73.2 percent—an overwhelming majority of the vote. This is contrasted to Lori Keenan and Sebastian Nalls who had 17.5 and 8.9 percent respectively. As mayor, Biss plans to focus on Evanston’s affordability, racial justice, climate sustainability and robust recovery from COVID-19. 

Stephanie Mendoza won the race for city clerk, receiving over 70 percent of the votes. Mail-in ballots postmarked by midnight on Feb. 23, are still being processed and could result in some votes being cast for any of the six write-in candidates. Mendoza has been an active community organizer with Evanston’s Latino and undocumented communities. As the newly elected city clerk, Mendoza plans to prioritize increasing transparency and access to the information within the city clerk’s office to all Evanston residents. 

Under Illinois election law, if no candidate receives over 50 percent of the vote in the consolidated primary election, the top two candidates in each race will continue on and appear on the consolidated election ballot in April. This is the case for the aldermanic races for the 4th and 8th Ward. In the 4th ward, Diane Goldring received 32.6 percent of the vote and Jonathan Nieuwsma received 38.4 percent of the vote. In the race for 8th Ward alderman, Devon Reid received 40.2 percent and Matthew Mitchell received 31.3 percent of the votes. This means that incumbent candidates, Donald Wilson in the 4th Ward and Ann Rainey in the 8th Ward, were voted out. Wilson has been an alderman for the 4th Ward for 12 years, while Rainey has served as 8th Ward alderwoman for the past 34 years. In recent years, Rainey has faced backlash for statements opposing Evanston Fight for Black Lives and the movement to defund the Evanston Police Department, as well as facing claims about ethics violations while serving on City Council and attacking Reid during the campaign for 8th Ward alderman.

Goldring, Mitchell, Nieuwsma and Reid will appear on the April 6 ballot alongside candidates for the remaining aldermanic races. You can read profiles of all of those candidates here.