Evanston voters will winnow the field of candidates for mayor and 5th Ward aldermen when they go to the polls today for the primary election.

In the mayoral primary, thanks to provisions of a 1992 referendum, if one of the five candidates gets more than 50 percent of the vote he’ll be declared the city’s new mayor without a runnoff. Otherwise, the two top finishers will face off in the April 4 general election.

Observers generally believe that only businessman Steve Hagerty has any chance of hitting the 50 percent mark in the primary, while the other four candidates — aldermen Brian Miller and Mark Tendam, attorney Jeff Smith and former township supervisor Gary Gaspard — are hoping to make it into a runnoff.

In the 5th Ward race, the winner-take-all rule doesn’t apply and the two top finishers will go on to the general election.

Candidates in the 5th Ward are Daniel Featherson, Carolyn Murray, Robin Rue, Carlis Sutton and Misty Witenberg.

If you’re not sure where your voting precinct is, you can check the location online. The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

We’ll have election results later this evening.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Jeff Smith for mayor

    Jeff Smith is an intelligent, ethical and passionate candidate for mayor; he has vision for preserving what’s best about Evanston and improving what’s not. 

    He doesn’t talk in sound bites, simply repeating key phrases and catchwords (such as “jobs,” “development,” “security,” “growth,” etc.)  and hammering away at one key issue like so many candidates for many offices. Instead, he articulates his well-researched points in his talks, his mailings and on his web site ( 

    I’ve known him for years 50 years and I encourage you to vote for my brother today!



  2. What is the evidence that Hagerty could hit 50%?
    Just curious what evidence observers are drawing upon to suggest that Haggerty has a shot at more than 50% of the vote.

    Have there been any polls? Are they counting yard signs?

    Given the fact that we have never had a primary before and we don’t know what turnout to expect, I would think it is very hard to predict anything about today’s election.

    1. Evidence

      There’s been no polling — at least none that’s been reported publicly.

      But Hagerty is way out in front in fundraising and has the biggest list of supporters, including endorsements from Mayor Tisdahl and former Mayor Morton.

      And, yeah, it does seem he has gotten the most yard signs out there.

      Personally, I think he probably won’t get 50 percent today — but it doesn’t seem impossible.

      — Bill

  3. Turnout

    Anybody care to guess? The Clerk says 2500 early voters and I haven’t seen a ton of activity, admittedly small/non-representative sample size. If we put the over/under at 4399, which way would you guess?

    I’m taking the under. Maybe someone whose seeing more activity thinks differently?

    1. Sean Tenner here – Steve’s
      Sean Tenner here – Steve’s Campaign Manager – I try never to get in to the prediction business but I’ll make a Joe Namath like exception and guarantee we are over the 4,399 (which I will henceforth refer to as the ‘Suffredin line’!). Almost certain we will have a higher turnout for Mayor than 2013 (5,854) when Mayor Tisdahl was unopposed but there were several other local contested seats at different levels. I’ve sensed real energy out there. FYI – my betting currency is strictly Malort

      1. Turnout 

        Sean, I hope you’re right. Low turnout is a bad look. This election will establish the baseline for 5-way primaries held under tornado watch conditions. Good luck to everyone tonight.

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