The results from last night’s Peoria at-large primary election tilted heavily towards new blood.
The votes were counted and the field of 14 is trimmed to 10 candidates for Peoria’s City Council.
Candidate Rita Ali crushed her opponents Tuesday with more than 27 percent of the vote.
Ali calls herself the poster child for “every vote counts,” because two years ago, when running for a district 5 seat, she lost by just one vote.
After her loss in 2017, it was Ali’s father who encouraged her by saying, “you’re a finisher.”
“Right after that, I wasn’t done. If you come that close, you have to get up and keep going. It’s just part of my nature,” said Ali.
Now she is back on the campaign trail, running for an at-large Peoria City Council seat.
“I learned how to campaign,” stated Ali.
This time around, she has been campaigning by knocking on doors, holding forums and concentrating on early voting.
Thomas Bride, Executive Director at the Peoria County Election Commission, said some candidates have seen great success with that focus.
“The trend we’ve seen in all elections is the growth of vote by mail […] We had almost as many vote by mail as we did early voting and that’s a new phenomenon,” said Bride.
Ali’s goal was to make it in the top five, but she exceeded even her own expectations, coming in first. She had over 10,000 votes.
In addition, she got 40 percent of the early votes and around 28 percent of mail-in ballots.
“That kind of knocked us off our feet […] I mean that’s saying, ‘I trust in your leadership. I believe that you are qualified. I believe that you can do the job,'” added Ali.
If elected in April, Ali hopes to help create jobs and make Peoria safer.
“As a six-year-old, Peoria was a thriving community. There were jobs. Neighborhoods were much safer than they are today and business was thriving,” stated Ali.
Ali is one of ten candidates vying for five seats on the city council.
The election will take place in April, and between now and then, anything can happen.
“I hope to be able to sit on the council and be in the room where it happens and making those key decisions to move Peoria forward,” stated Ali.