Ali Leads Montelongo By 43 Votes After Final Count
UPDATED 8:30 P.M. | Rita Ali leads Jim Montelongo by 43 votes in the race to become Peoria's next mayor after the final tally of mail-in ballots postmarked on or before April 6.
Ali added two votes to her tally over Montelongo following the final count on Tuesday. The Peoria County Election Commission scheduled the final canvass for Wednesday.
“I'm really pleased that we’re not looking at a one, or two, or three-vote difference; I’ve been in that situation before,” said Ali, referencing her 2017 one-vote loss to Denis Cyr for the District 5 City Council seat. “I’m pleased that it's that much of a difference and I'm looking very forward to serving as Peoria's mayor.”
Montelongo said he plans to file for a discovery recount.
Previously, Montelongo accused the election commission of poor record keeping and mishandling the absentee ballots counted after Election Day. He penned a letter to the Peoria County State's Attorney's Office via his attorney citing his concerns.
He said his campaign also is awaiting video footage from the election commission that he claims had been promised by Friday.
Election Commission Executive Director Tom Bride defends his office's processes.
On election night, Montelongo held a narrow lead, but mail-in votes counted after April 6 turned the tide for Ali, who would be the first African American and first woman to become Peoria's mayor.
“I think after 170 years and 54 mayors, becoming the first woman and the first person of color, African American, I think it speaks well of Peoria’s choice, Peoria’s direction, being open to diversity and embracing diversity,” she said. “Diversity plays very well in terms of progress for cities.”
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