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City Clerk Anna Valencia wraps up election — before early voting even starts

City Clerk Anna Valencia on the first day of the filing period for municipal elections. File Photo. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

City Clerk Anna Valencia on the first day of the filing period for municipal elections. File Photo. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

It’s more than five weeks until the polls close — and some ten days until early voting even begins — but Anna Valencia can now pretty much be projected the winner of the city clerk’s race.

The road to victory was cleared for the appointed incumbent after her two remaining opponents were kicked off the ballot Friday by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

The board accepted the recommendations of hearing officers to boot Elizabeth “Betty” Arias-Ibarra and Patricia Horton off the ballot.

Anna Valencia speaks at a press conference after Mayor Rahm Emanuel named her as his choice for city clerk in December of 2016. File Photo. | Santiago Covarrubias/Sun-Times

Anna Valencia speaks at a press conference after Mayor Rahm Emanuel named her as his choice for city clerk in December of 2016. File Photo. | Santiago Covarrubias/Sun-Times

Horton said the decision was “unfair,unjust and I will appeal.”

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

The board said Horton was around 800 signatures short of the minimum, but she says the objector wasn’t registered where he said he lived, which should’ve meant the objection was thrown out

Valencia was appointed to the office by Mayor Rahm Emanuel after Susana Mendoza became the state’s comptroller. Valencia took the oath of office in January 2017.

The Feb. 26 election will be Valencia’s first time coming before city voters, though a victory is essentially assured now with no rivals on the ballot.

Short of a successful court appeal, the only path left for Arias-Ibarra and Horton is to run as write-in candidates.

That option is still open to them because they filed to be part of the original process and were kicked off the ballot. They have time to file to be write-ins “if they so choose,” said Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

Early voting is scheduled to begin Jan. 28.