Chicago Treasurer Race: Conyears-Ervin Beats Pawar in Runoff Election, AP Projects

Melissa Conyears-Ervin defeated Ameya Pawar in the runoff election for Chicago treasurer Tuesday night, the Associated Press projects. 

Conyears-Ervin earned 59 percent of the vote, compared to Pawar's 41 percent, with 71 percent of precincts reporting by 8:12 p.m., election results showed. The two were sent to the runoff over third candidate Peter Gariepy in the initial election on Feb. 26. 

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, as well as Gariepy, her former opponent. She is married to 28th Ward Ald. Jason Ervin.

Pawar is currently the 47th Ward alderman, who ran 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 had 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 earned him the endorsements of both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as SEIU Local 1 and Rep. Mike Quigley.

Conyears-Ervin will now take 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 can 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.

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