Ald. Deborah Graham

Ald. Deborah Graham failed to win Tuesday the 50.1 percent of the vote she needed to avoid an April 7 runoff.

Graham, who received 40 percent (4,045) of the vote according to unofficial results compiled by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, will face second place vote-getter Chris Taliaferro,who won  22 percent (2,275).

It looked like Graham might avoid the run-off early in the evening, when at one point she had close to 49 percent of the tallied vote.

“I think we worked really hard in a crowded field of candidates,” said Graham, a former state lawmaker who was appointed to the 29th Ward seat in 2010 by then-Mayor Richard Daley.

That field had as many as 12 candidates before some withdrew or were removed from the ballot. In all, voters had eight candidates to choose from in Tuesday’s election.

Throughout the campaign, Graham was often the focus of strong criticism from other candidates, including Taliaferro.

Several blasted Graham’s policies over her five years in the City Council, calling her a “rubber stamp” for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who also faces an April runoff.

They questioned how much she had done to create jobs and business opportunities for West Side residents.

But, on election day, those criticisms appeared to wane as some voters used the ballot to reassure their commitment to Graham.

Still, she didn’t come close to repeating her 2011 feat of winning the February election outright; she received 52 percent of the vote four years ago in an equally crowded eight-candidate field.

“I am very proud, I am very honored to see that she came victorious in this challenge,” longtime Austin resident Karl Henry said at Graham’s election night gathering.

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