Veteran Waukegan City Clerk Wayne Motley won a three-way showdown in the Democratic Party's mayoral primary on Tuesday.
Motley edged out state Sen. Terry Link and Alderman Sam Cunningham for the Democratic nomination, unofficial results showed.
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"It's a wonderful night," Motley said in a telephone interview.
He quickly thanked his supporters "for their hard work and dedication," saying it all paid off Tuesday.
With ballots in all 47 precincts counted, as well as early and mailed ballots, Motley had 1,505 votes, or about 36 percent of the overall tally.
Cunningham finished second with 1,345 votes, or about 32 percent. Early and mailed ballots, which are counted after those cast on Election Day, put him ahead of Link at the end of the night.
Link, the Democratic Party leader in Lake County, finished third with 1,307 votes, or nearly 31 percent.
Motley now will face two independent candidates in the April 9 general election: incumbent Mayor Bob Sabonjian, a former Democrat who left the party before he won his first term as mayor in 2009, and Susana Figueroa, the city's community liaison administrator since 1995.
No Republican candidate surfaced for the primary. Lake County GOP officials have no plans to nominate a candidate to run for the post in the historically Democratic city.
Sabonjian, the son of a former mayor, was a Democrat when he last was elected to the Lake County Board in 2008, but he switched to independent a few months later ahead of his run for mayor. He upset incumbent Democrat Richard Hyde for the post.
Motley is a retired Waukegan police officer who's been city clerk for 12 years. He also has served on the park district and housing authority boards.
He cited the need to bring businesses, jobs and affordable housing among his top priorities.
He's also supported the long-proposed but never solidified construction of a casino in Waukegan.
Link, one of the most powerful Democrats in the state Senate, brought attention to the race when he announced his candidacy in November, less than two weeks after winning re-election to the Capitol.