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Daley Wins Chicago Mayoral Race In Landslide

April 5, 1995

CHICAGO (AP) _ Mayor Richard M. Daley scored a landslide victory Tuesday over independent Roland Burris, winning a second full term in the lowest voter turnout of any Chicago mayoral election on record.

``These are exciting times in Chicago,″ the beaming mayor told supporters in a downtown hotel. ``Michael Jordan has come back. The White Sox and Cubs are coming back. I’m proud that the people of Chicago have given me the opportunity to come back as well.″

The victory capped a lopsided race in which the 52-year-old mayor held a commanding lead in the polls throughout and raised $3.9 million to Burris’ $60,000.

With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Daley had 348,016 votes, or 61 percent, to 205,259, or 36 percent, for Burris, a Democrat-turned-independent and Illinois’ first black attorney general.

Republican Ray Wardingley, who for years worked part time as a clown to raise money for charity, had 16,108, or 3 percent; Lawrence Redmond, the candidate of the tiny Harold Washington Party, had 4,897, or 1 percent.

Election officials said the turnout was about 41 percent, the lowest since they started keeping records 50 years ago. The previous low mark of slightly more than 45 percent was set in 1991.

In two closely watched City Council runoffs, both incumbents decisively defeated challengers who received campaign help from current and former members of the Gangster Disciples street gang.

In Ward 3, Alderman Dorothy Tillman, a former aide to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., defeated former Gangster Disciple Wallace ``Gator″ Bradley. Tillman had 6,089 votes, or 67 percent, to 2,984, or 33 percent, for Bradley, with 90 percent of precincts reporting.

In Ward 16, Alderman Shirley Coleman defeated community activist Hal Baskin, who said he never was a Gangster Disciple. Coleman had 4,768 votes, or 67 percent, to 2,365, or 33 percent, for Baskin, with 95 percent of precincts reporting.

In the mayoral race, Burris, 57, had hoped for an upset with a last-minute get-out-the-vote effort.

But Daley clinched endorsements from Democratic Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, Cook County Board President John Stroger and a number of other prominent black leaders. He won the Democratic primary with 66 percent of the vote, defeating black challenger Joseph Gardner, a water district commissioner.

``We tried to fight a good fight,″ Burris said in conceding the election. ``I just wish for some reason we can find out why the citizens didn’t come out and vote.″

Hundreds of police flooded both wards with runoffs on Election Day but reports of voter intimidation were sparse.

That was in sharp contrast to the primary, when many complained about trouble in and around polling places.

Tillman claimed victory and said the influence of 21st Century V.O.T.E., a gang-related political organization that backed Bradley, had been overrated. ``I think it’s a media monster,″ she said.

She acknowledged, however, that Bradley received strong support in the ward’s public housing projects, including the nation’s largest, the Robert Taylor Homes.

Neither gang-backed candidate had been favored to win.

During the campaign, Baskin was sharply criticized by women’s groups for a remark about a former husband of his opponent.

Coleman was at one time married to convicted rapist and murderer Hernando Williams, who was executed on March 22.

Shortly before the execution, Baskin said Williams might not have gone on his crime rampage if his needs had been better met at home.

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