Melissa Conyears-Ervin and Ameya Pawar advanced to an April runoff election for Chicago treasurer Tuesday night.
Conyears-Ervin earned 44.3 percent of the vote while Pawar earned 41.6 percent with 97 percent of precincts reporting as of 12:45 a.m., according to the Chicago Board of Elections. Those totals were not enough for either candidate to reach the 50 percent threshold to win the election outright, and thus both were poised to move on to the runoff over the third candidate Peter Gariepy, who earned 14.1 percent of the vote.
Conyears-Ervin is currently an Illinois state representative, serving the 10th District since 2017. She has a master’s degree in business administration from Roosevelt University and has garnered some key endorsements, from the likes of SEIU Local 73, the Chicago Teachers Union, and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.
Pawar is currently the 47th Ward alderman, running for a new office after vowing to only serve two terms on City Council. He ran on a progressive platform for Illinois governor last year, but dropped out of the Democratic primary early on, citing a prohibitive lack of funding.
He’s floated the idea of creating a publicly-owned bank, which would aim to provide low-interest loans for residents and would essentially cut private banks out of the business of handling the city’s finances. His progressive approach to ethics and transparency in particular has earned him the endorsements of both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as SEIU Local 1 and Rep. Mike Quigley.
The two will square off in April for the open position vacated by current Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summer.
Summers, often seen as a rising political star, unexpectedly announced in 2018 that he would not seek re-election. He was Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s ex-chief of staff and served just one term.
The position of treasurer could be seen as the city’s accountant, managing Chicago’s operating funds, controlling the city’s investments and overseeing the city’s increasingly-troubled pension funds.