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Lightfoot wins in runoff landslide, talks next steps
by Matt Simonette
2019-04-02

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Attorney and former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot handily won the Chicago's mayor's office on April 2. Lightfoot becomes not only the first Black female mayor in the city's history, but its first openly lesbian mayor as well, carrying all 50 wards in the city.

Lightfoot was projected winner by WGN-TV at about 7:45 p.m. She had garnered about 74 percent of the vote by that time. Her opponent, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, trailed with 26 percent.

Speaking from her campaign headquarters at the Chicago and Towers, Lightfoot said, "In this election, Toni and I were competitors, but our differences are what we can achieve together. Now that it's over, I know that we will work together for the city that we both love."

She thanked her supporters, adding, "With this mandate for change, we will take these next steps together."

Lightfoot promised to take on political corruption and gun violence, and pledged support for small business owners and immigrant families. She also promised to address the city's population loss.

She further pledged to help build "a city where it doesn't matter who you love, just as long as you love with all your heart. In the Chicago we build together, we will celebrate our differences." Among those Lightfoot acknowledged in the speech were LGBT activists Dr. Ron Sable, Vernita Gray and Art Johnston.

Lightfoot declared her mayoral intentions in May 2018, when political insiders expected Mayor Rahm Emanuel to run for a third term. His decision not to do so, which he announced last September, opened the floodgates for well over a dozen other candidates to jump into the race, among them Preckwinkle.

Preckwinkle and Lightfoot will indeed now have to work with one another, since Preckwinkle will be returning full-time to her post heading up the Cook County Board, where she frequently butted heads with Emanuel. Preckwinkle also chairs the Cook County Democratic Party.

In her concession speech, Preckwinkle commented on the historic nature of having two Black women competing in the race, and promised hard work on the County Board. Preckwinkle further noted, "We've made previously unthinkable change a reality, and there's more that we can do," she said. … "That's what historic about our race; it wasn't just about gender or race—it was about values."

"We congratulate Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot for winning the election and her historic candidacy as the first-ever openly queer person to run for mayor of Chicago," said Brian Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. "Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot will be the first lesbian and African American women to serve as mayor of Chicago—and just the second woman elected to the position. This victory is historic, and It is also an undeniably proud moment for the LGBTQ community."

Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, added, "This historic win reaffirms that our diversity is our greatest strength, and that our elected leaders should reflect the diversity of the communities they represent. I look forward to working with Mayor-elect Lightfoot as she fights to build a brighter future for all. The people of Chicago will be well served with her leadership."

"Tonight, Lori Lightfoot made history as Chicago's first openly LGBTQ and Black female mayor," said HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. "HRC was proud to endorse Lightfoot and help turn out the vote for her historic candidacy. We congratulate Lori Lightfoot on her victory and look forward to working closely with her as the first openly LGBTQ and Black female mayor of Chicago to ensure the city moves forward to be an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone."

Another post settled in the April 2 runoff was City Treasurer, a post soon to be vacated by Kurt Summers. State Rep. Melissa Conyears-Ervin was projected as the winner by WGN at about 8 p.m., having won about 60 percent of the vote. She won against Ald. Ameya Pawar ( 47th Ward ), who carried about 40 percent of the vote.


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