UPDATED: 9 p.m. EDT — Lori Lightfoot has been elected as the next mayor of Chicago, according to the Associated Press. With her win, she became the first Black woman ever elected to be Windy City’s chief executive.
After she and opponent Toni Preckwinkle were sent to a runoff election following a tight contest in February, Lightfoot captured more than 72 percent of the votes on Tuesday. In addition to becoming the first Black woman mayor of Chicago, she is also the first openly gay person to hold that office, truly making history with her election.
Lightfoot’s election paved the way for her to succeed current Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was not seeking re-election.
From the Laquan McDonald case to even his bizarre handling of Jussie Smollett, Chicago Rahm Emanuel has been a disaster for the Windy City. However, historic change was coming to Chicago on Tuesday. A Black woman, either Lori Lightfoot or Toni Preckwinkle, will be elected mayor of Chicago.
Back in February, according to the Board of Election Commissioners for Chicago, Lightfoot won 17.48% of the vote and Preckwinkle had 15.96%, which meant there would be a runoff election. The winner of Tuesday’s contest determines who will replace Emanuel, who was not running for reelection.
Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, has specifically said she wants to separate herself from the city’s reputation for political corruption.
“I am an independent reform candidate. I do not represent the past. I am not tied to the broken political machine,” she told ABC News. “I didn’t aspire to climb the ranks of the Cook County Democratic Party to be the party boss. I am not affiliated with Ed Burke, or Joe Berrios or anyone else who really represents the old corrupt Chicago way.”
Preckwinkle, also speaking with ABC News, ran down her resume to convince voters that she deserved to be Chicago’s next mayor.
“As executive of the county, I have managed the second-largest county in the second-largest county in the country for the last eight years and we’ve done that reducing expenses by $850 million, reducing our workforce and our indebtedness,” she said. “I have both local government experience and management experience in a large unit of government and I think that those are things that will appeal to the voters.”
Both women are progressive candidates and stand behind Democratic policies like a $15 minimum wage and legalizing marijuana.
If Lightfoot wins, she will be the first LGBT mayor of Chicago. She is for massive police reform but has been accused of giving “a personal loyalty oath to Rahm Emanuel,” which she has denied.
Preckwinkle has said she’s been an advocate for police reform, claiming she “took on the police department and politicians to expose the truth about Laquan McDonald.” However, she has been accused of “inflating” her role in the McDonald case.
Nonetheless, either of these women would be a win for the Windy City. If you are in Chicago, let your voice be heard at the ballot box.