Chicago Mayoral Race Down To Two Black Women For First Time In City’s History

February 28, 2019  |  

Tori Preckwinkle, Lori Lightfoot

Source: Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Scott Olson/Getty

Two women are in the runoff to become the first Black woman mayor in Chicago, marking a historic moment in the city’s 181-year-old history.

Lori Lightfoot, 56, a former federal prosecutor and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, 71, will face off in a runoff election scheduled for April 2, 2019. Lightfoot, would make a definite impact as she would be the first openly gay woman to run the third-largest city in America.

Lightfoot, the numerical front runner, secured 17.48 percent of the vote, while Preckwinkle walked away with 15.96 percent, according to CNN. Neither women secured more than 50 percent, which resulted in the run-off. The candidate who wins will replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel who decided to not seek re-election after two turbulent terms in office.

The race which was spread across 14 candidates signals a turning point for Chicago, a city with a majority Black population who have undeniably contributed to its history, but marred with a significant neglect from city politicians.

While the election is notable, it has not gone without controversy. Both women have taken serious blows towards one another, playing the political game of slinging dirt.

Preckwinkle has been vocal about Lightfoot and her former past as the President of the Chicago Police Board, appointed by Emanuel to oversee the investigation of the Laquan McDonald case. The case harbors deep dissent within the community as another young Black man’s state sanctioned death was misreported by the police. Lightfoot has also criticize Preckwinkle, who pointed out the latter’s ties to Alderman Ed Burke, the longest serving city council person in Chicago’s history. Burke was charged by federal authorities in January with attempted extortion, but was still re-elected on Tuesday.

Just last week Lightfoot was the subject of a nasty hit from a Preckwinkle campaign advisor who compared Lightfoot to a Nazi by posting a photo of the Nuremberg trials. Preckwinkle later fired the advisor.

ightfoot criticized Preckwinkle last week after a senior Preckwinkle campaign adviser posted a photo of Nazis at the Nuremberg trials on social media to argue against supporting Lightfoot.

Despite all of the mud slinging, if either women win it will follow a voting trend of Black women being elected to major U.S. cities since the 2017 election year and beyond. Since that time Black women hold top political office in cities like New Orleans, Atlanta and San Francisco.

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