By: Nate Morris, senior editor
Throughout the day on Tuesday, Chicago voters chose between fourteen candidates in their search for a new mayor. Tonight, they have narrowed it down to two: Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle, meaning that for the first time in Chicago’s history the city will be lead by a Black woman.
With nearly 100% of precincts reporting and amid surprisingly low voter turnout, Lightfoot received 17.5% of the vote while Preckwinkle received 16% of the vote.
Lightfoot, who is openly gay, served as the head of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s policing reform task force from 2015 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a federal prosecutor and the head of Chicago’s police disciplinary office – a job which produced mixed results. Lightfoot, however, was lauded for her strong grassroots campaign which launched her into a surprise first place finish.
Preckwinkle, a longtime city alderwoman on Chicago’s south side and current president of the Cook County Board, touted her progressive values in her election night speech. The board president teared up as she said “in the end, I’m doing this for my grandkids” as shouts of “and my grandkids” could be heard from the audience.
Both women beat out Bill Daley, one time Obama chief of staff and son of former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, who raised more than $8,000,000 for the campaign.
Lightfoot and Preckwinkle also soundly defeated Garry McCarthy, the former city police superintendent who was fired by Mayor Emmanuel after the 2014 murder of Laquan McDonald. McCarthy finished with a paltry 2.7% of the vote.
A runoff election for Chicago’s mayor will take place on April 2nd.
This will be the first time in more than 35 years that a white man has not been at the helm at city hall and will make Chicago the largest city in America to have elected a Black woman as its mayor.