With Rodriquez-Sanchez ahead 13 votes, Mell calls for recount in 33rd ward

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CHICAGO — The results are still unofficial, but it appears two closely-watched City Council races will be decided with less than 40 votes separating the winners from the losers.

In Chicago’s closest election, challenger Rossana Rodriquez-Sanchez appears to have edged out incumbent Ald. Deb Mell in the 33rd ward runoff by just 13 votes.

The results are unofficial until the Chicago Election Board certifies them Thursday, although additional legal battles could follow.

Either way, the results seem to be too close for Mell to give up, tweeting on Wednesday morning:

“The Board of Elections shows that I am 13 votes down with 11,495 votes cast. In many municipalities, in an election this close, a recount would be automatically triggered. I’ll be asking for a discovery recount that will conclude next week. I owe it to my supporters and staff.”

During the discovery recount, Mell will be looking for evidence to support a formal election challenge.

In meantime, this appears to be a painful defeat for Mell, as the seat has been in her family since 1975. Deb Mell was appointed to replace her father Dick Mell in 2013.

Meanwhile, Rodriquez-Sanchez is moving forward and scheduling a victory party in the ward for Thursday night.

“We deserve to celebrate. We deserve to celebrate all the effort and hard work that we put in that campaign,” Rodriquez-Sanchez said. “It is a small margin. We won by 13 votes. I don’t that it’s small enough to then start finding new ballots that are going to change the outcome of the election.”

When she takes office next month, Rodriquez-Sanchez will be one of five Democratic Socialists elected to City Council this year.

In another nail-biter, 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman held onto his seat by beating challenger Marianne Lalonde by 25 votes.

Mayor Emanuel’s former campaign spent at least $30,000 to boost Cappleman, and later congratulated him in a statement.

“The 46th ward community is thriving and Mayor Rahm Emanuel is honored to have partnered with Alderman Cappleman,” the statement said.

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