The Next Chicago Mayor Will Be a Black Woman

Lori Lightfoot, Toni Preckwinkle to face off April 2 in a history-making runoff election
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 27, 2019 8:01 AM CST
Chicago Will Get Its First Black Female Mayor
Former Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot announces her bid for mayor of Chicago on May 9, 2018.   (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune via AP, File)

Two women will face each other in a runoff to become Chicago's first African-American female mayor, reports the AP. Former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot, a political outsider as well as the first openly gay woman to run for Chicago mayor, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle were the top two vote-getters among 14 candidates Tuesday, but neither received more than the 50% needed to avoid an April 2 runoff. The winner will succeed Mayor Rahm Emanuel to lead the nation's third-largest city, still struggling to shed its reputation for corruption, police brutality, and street violence. Emanuel did not seek re-election. Among those defeated was William Daley, a former US Commerce secretary who, like Emanuel, served as White House chief of staff to former President Obama. His father, Richard J. Daley, and brother, Richard M. Daley, held the city's top job for nearly 43 years of a 55-year span before Emanuel took the oath in 2011.

"What do you think of us now?" Lightfoot said Tuesday night to a crowd of her supporters. "This is what change looks like." Lightfoot has been critical of efforts to reform the Chicago Police Department in the wake of the 2014 fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white police officer. Preckwinkle, who leads the county's Democratic Party (all candidates were attached to it in some way), also made a campaign issue out of McDonald's shooting. "We may not be at the finish line. But, we should acknowledge that history is being made," said Preckwinkle, who previously served 19 years on the City Council and was a Chicago Public Schools teacher. Businessman Willie Wilson, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza and activist Amara Enyia, who received financial support from Kanye West and Chance the Rapper, rounded out the top vote-getters. By late afternoon, turnout stood at around 27% of registered voters.

(More Chicago stories.)

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