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GARY, Ind. — Former Indiana Attorney General Karen Freeman-Wilson will be the first woman to lead the struggling city of Gary.

Freeman-Wilson easily defeated Republican Charles Smith Jr. Tuesday in the race to succeed Mayor Rudy Clay, who did not seek re-election because of health problems. With some precincts still not reporting, Freeman-Wilson had received 86 percent of the vote.

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

Before Tuesday’s election, only 11 of the state’s 119 cities had female mayors. Freeman-Wilson is Gary’s first female Mayor and Indiana’s first Black, female mayor.

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

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