Twenty-one people filed petitions with the Chicago Board of Elections to run for mayor, city officials said - making for a crowded field of candidates looking to succeed Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Monday marked the deadline for candidates to file petitions with the required minimum of 12,500 signatures from Chicago residents to get them on the ballot for the municipal election in February.
While some candidates chose to submit their signatures as soon as the filing period opened on Nov. 19 - vying to be first on the ballot, 15 chose to wait until the final day to make their campaigns official, seeking the coveted bottom of the ballot.
The 21 candidates, according to the Chicago Board of Elections, include: former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Bill Daley, ex-Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, former Chicago Public Schools board president Gery Chico, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, attorney and community activist Amara Enyia, state Rep. La Shawn Ford, community activist Ja'Mal Green, attorney and lobbyist Jerry Joyce, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, former Chicago Police Board president Lori Lightfoot, attorney John Kozlar, tech entrepreneur Neal Sales-Griffin, millionaire businessman Willie Wilson and former Ald. Bob Fioretti.
Five other candidates whose campaigns did not appear as heavily publicized prior to the petition filing period also submitted signatures to get on the ballot: Sandra Mallory, Roger Washington, Richard Mayers, Catherine Brown D'Tycoon, Conrien Hykes Clark.
It is unlikely that all 21 candidates who filed petitions will be on the ballot, as challenges to those signatures are expected. Any objections to a candidate's petitions must be filed within five business days, according to state election law.
The candidates whose signatures survive the scrutiny of a legal challenge will also participate in a lottery for ballot position, for either the first or the final spot. That drawing will be held on Dec. 5, with the election to be held on Feb. 26.
The number of candidates all but guarantees that none will receive more than 50 percent of the vote, which would force the race into a runoff election between the top two vote-getters on Apr. 2.