GARY, Ind. (CBS) — Voters in Gary have elected their first woman mayor.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports, former Indiana Attorney General Karen Freeman-Wilson, a Democrat, easily defeated her three challengers – Republican Charles S. Smith Jr., independent candidate LaVetta Sparks-Wade, and Unicratic Party candidate Eddie Tarver.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports

Preliminary election results showed Freeman-Wilson trouncing her opponents with 86 percent of the vote. And despite being a major-party candidate, Smith apparently got fewer votes than Sparks-Wade or Tarver.

Gary has not elected a Republican mayor since 1938, and thus, Freeman-Wilson was widely expected to win.

The candidates were vying to replace Mayor Rudy Clay, who decided not to run for reelection amid a battle with prostate cancer.

Before the election Tuesday, only 11 of the 119 cities in Indiana had female mayors. Freeman-Wilson will also become the first African-American woman mayor anywhere in Indiana.

Freeman-Wilson’s election came on her third try for the office. She also ran for Gary mayor in 2003 and 2007.

Watch & Listen LIVE