EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (STMW) – Anthony Copeland is the new mayor of East Chicago.

During a caucus Saturday morning at East Chicago Central High School, Copeland, a former city councilman, won over a majority of the city’s 36 precinct committeemen to take over for Interim Mayor Charlie Pacurer.

In the end, Copeland’s 21 votes on the first ballot topped Councilman Rich Medina and former state Rep. John Aguilera to claim the needed 51 percent of the committeemen.

Aguilera, Copeland, Clemmie T. Jones, Medina, Jesus L. “Jesse” Ortiz Jr. and Dorothy Smart-Williams started the day Saturday with a goal to succeed disgraced former Mayor George Pabey, who was convicted on public corruption charges in federal court in September.

State law requires that any sitting public official be immediately removed from office upon conviction.

Pacurar, the city’s controller in the Pabey administration, declined to run due to health reasons.

Hammond Mayor and Lake County Democratic Chairman Thomas McDermott Jr. ran the caucus and would have cast the deciding vote had the final round of voting ended in a tie.

Four machines from Lake County Elections and Voter Registration were used for voting.

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