History Made in Chicago as Lightfoot and Preckwinkle, Two Black Female Progressives, Advance to Mayoral Runoff
Chicago is set to see its first black female mayor after a historic election on Tuesday prompted a runoff between Democrats Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle, both self-styled progressives who emerged as the top candidates in a crowded field that included Bill Daley, a longtime politico with an infamous last name.
The closely watched and competitive race, which even brought about a board game (pdf), kicked off last year in the deeply Democratic city after former Mayor Rahm Emanuel—widely loathed as a “neoliberal nightmare” whose “tenure in office wreaked on Chicago’s communities of color”—announced he would not seek another term.
As of late Wednesday morning, the unofficial results reported by the Chicago Tribune showed Lightfoot with 17.5 percent of the overall votes and Preckwinkle with 16 percent. Daley, who has conceded, ranked third among the 14 candidates. As no one received more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between Lightfoot and Preckwinkle is scheduled for April 2.
Endorsed by the Chicago Sun-Times, the Illinois Education Association, Democracy for America, and Indivisible Illinois 9th District Andersonville-Edgewater, Lightfoot is a former federal prosecutor who would also be the second city’s first openly gay mayor.
Although Lightfoot has never held elected office, the 56-year-old has garnered national attention after Emanuel appointed her to lead a task force to propose reforms to the Chicago Police Department—which is notorious for racist policing that has included entrapping and killing low-income black residents.
Preckwinkle’s backers include the Chicago Teachers Union and various other local labor groups, former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). As current chair of the Cook County Democratic Party and an ex-alderman, the 71-year-old former teacher has long been a fixture in local politics.
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