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City Clerk Anna Valencia wins re-election after rivals tossed off ballot

City Clerk Anna Valencia at Manny's Deli, Feb. 26, 2019. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

Incumbent City Clerk Anna Valencia, once tagged by Rahm Emanuel as part of the “next generation of leadership,” came away unscathed — and unopposed — in the first election of her career in front of Chicago voters.

Seen as a rising star in political circles, Valencia won re-election for city clerk on Tuesday in perhaps the most uneventful and anticlimactic race of the night.

“As your city clerk, I want to continue to fight for these hard-working families,” Valencia said during her acceptance speech Tuesday night. “That includes making city services available and accessible to all Chicago residents, no matter what neighborhood you live in.”

Valencia initially faced competition from two hopefuls — Elizabeth “Betty” Arias-Ibarra and Patricia Horton.

But last month, five weeks before the election, Valencia essentially ensured her victory when the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners accepted the recommendations of hearing officers to kick Arias-Ibarra and Horton off the ballot.

Horton, the board said, was around 800 signatures short of the minimum. Horton claimed the objector to her petitions wasn’t registered where he said he lived, which should’ve meant the objection was thrown out.

“This is all political,” Horton said. “I believe this is the machine working against me … they don’t want me in that seat.”

Though Horton’s and Arias-Ibarra’s names still appeared on the ballot while their appeals were heard, neither candidate had more than a sliver of hope in the race other than running as write-in candidates.

Valencia was appointed to the office in 2016 to replace newly elected State Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Emanuel had high praise for his political operative after she took a pay cut to move into the clerk’s office.

“I’m about promoting another generation of leadership for this city,” Emanuel said at the time. “I’m not threatened by that. I actually want to promote that. As a millennial who happens to be Hispanic, she’s the next generation of leadership.”