Rhymefest Concedes, No Recount: Alderman Willie Cochran Wins 20th Ward Race
The City Council dreams of a Grammy Award-winning rapper appear to be over, for now at least.
Rhymefest announced Friday morning on Twitter that his campaign would not seek a recount in Chicago's 20th Ward runoff election, essentially conceding to incumbent Alderman Willie Cochran. It marked the end to a six-month-long political odyssey for the socially conscious rapper, who promised to continue his advocacy for the community despite failing in his bid for alderman.
After Tuesday's election, Che "Rhymefest" Smith was over 300 votes behind his competition. His campaign had insisted (and still insists) that there were irregularities at polling places throughout the ward, and said at the time that it planned to contest the results. Rhymefest said more information on that subject would be forthcoming on Monday.
After Rhymefest made it to the aldermanic runoff by coming in second in the February 22 citywide election, the race between him and Ald. Cochran began to get ugly. Cochran attacked Rhymefest's lyrics for promoting misogyny and violence, though 'Fest is known in the hip-hop community as one of the most politically aware and thoughtful rappers in the game. He also mentioned Rhymefest's arrest record, which the rapper chalked up to mistakes he regretted from his younger years.
Alderman Cochran had claimed victory in the race on election night. He was one of several incumbents to face vigorous challenges in the runoffs, and one of a smaller number to survive his challenge. Four sitting aldermen were swept out of office on April 5.