Daniel Biss to become Evanston’s next mayor


Illustration by Angeli Mittal

Evanston’s mayoral candidates, Sebastian Nalls, Lori Keenan and Daniel Biss, from left to right. On Tuesday night, Daniel Biss became Evanston’s next mayor.

Jacob Fulton, Design Editor

Former state Sen. Daniel Biss will be Evanston’s next mayor as of Tuesday night, with unofficial results showing he secured over 73 percent of votes, with all precincts reporting.

Biss, an Evanston resident of over a decade, faced off in the city’s mayoral primary against local activist Lori Keenan and 2018 Evanston Township High School graduate Sebastian Nalls, who received over 17 percent and nearly 9 percent of the vote, respectively. Biss first announced his campaign in September.

Because Biss received over 50 percent of votes cast in the primary, he automatically won the mayoral election. He is slated to take office in May.

Prior to his mayoral candidacy, Biss served in the Illinois state House for two years, and was elected in 2012 to represent the state’s 9th district, including Evanston, in the Illinois state Senate. He also mounted a Democratic gubernatorial campaign in 2018, but eventually fell short, coming in second in the party’s primary to current Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

In a speech Tuesday night, Biss thanked his supporters for their efforts and celebrated the community backing his agenda received.

“I was asked a number of times throughout this campaign, ‘Why are you running for mayor?’” Biss said. “Fundamentally, the answer to all those questions…is that I think the next four years are presenting our community with an incredible opportunity for bold, progressive, transformational policies.”

Both Keenan and Nalls conceded Tuesday night, congratulating Biss on his victory.

Keenan said in a statement that she hopes discussions about transparency in city government throughout the mayoral campaign will foster a productive relationship between community members and Biss as mayor.

“I entered this race because I care deeply about the people of Evanston, and I wanted to elevate their voices,” Keenan wrote. “For me, this race has always been about serving our community. I will continue to show up and speak up the way I have for the past 22 years.”

Nalls was the first to announce his candidacy back in August. He told The Daily despite the outcome of the election, he’s still proud of the conversations his campaign started.

“We saw that other candidates, not just in the mayoral race, but across the wards, were adopting some of the same platform pieces that we’ve had since we had our first conversation,” Nalls said. “Residents recognize that there’s a path forward that’s more equitable, it’s more transparent, and is more just for all.”

In his tenure as mayor, Biss told The Daily he welcomes input from both Keenan and Nalls, and commended the two for their work in the community throughout the course of the campaign.

Biss said his first task as mayor will be to assess the state of the city’s s COVID-19 response plans. He also said he hopes to begin to rebuild the community and local economy in the next four years.

“Tonight is a night of celebration; perhaps tomorrow morning is a morning of rest,” Biss said. “But then we enter a period of work — work to transform our city, work to enact this new vision, work to build policies that work for every single Evanstonian and lift every single Evanstonian up.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jacobnfulton

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