Chicago is reportedly on track to elect its first African-American female mayor, the Chicago Tribune reports. Former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, both of whom are black women, reportedly won enough votes on Tuesday (Feb. 26) to move on to a runoff election in Apr. 2019.
Th historically crowded campaign saw a total of 14 candidates vying for the mayoral position. Unofficial results saw Lightfoot with 17.5 percent of the vote and Preckwinkle with 16 percent. They were followed by Bill Daley with 14.7 percent, Willie Wilson with 10 percent, state Comptroller Susana Mendoza with 9 percent, activist and policy consultant Amara Enyia with 8 percent, Southwest Side attorney Jerry Joyce with 7 percent, and former CPS board President Gery Chico with 6 percent.
One of the candidates will also become Chicago’s second female mayor to be elected after Jane Bryne, who served one term from 1979 to 1983. Both would be the second black-elected mayor in Chicago after Harold Washington, who served from 1983 until 1987. Additionally, if Lightfoot is elected, she will become the city’s first openly gay mayor as well.
The upcoming election marks the second runoff campaign for mayor (then-Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel to a second round in 2015), which only occurs when no candidate collects more than 50 percent of the vote in its first round.
Preckwinkle spoke of the victory on Tuesday, noting that regardless of the outcome, history was already being made. “We may not yet be at the finish line, but we should acknowledge that history is being made,” Preckwinkle said. “It’s clear we’re at a defining moment in our city’s history, but the challenges that our city faces are not simply ideological. It’s not enough to say Chicago stands at a crossroads. We need to fight to change its course.”