Chicago on Verge of Electing First Black Woman as Mayor

A voter enters a polling location in downtown Chicago for citywide mayoral elections on February 26, 2019. - Chicago voters headed to the polls Tuesday to choose a new mayor from an unusually crowded field of 14 candidates who want to tackle the city's persistent problems of high crime and …

The City of Chicago had its elections last night, and while the final winner is yet to be revealed, it is beyond a doubt that the next leader will be the city’s first black, female mayor.

A huge field of 14 candidates vied to take the top office after the surprise retirement of current mayor Rahm Emanuel. With that many  running, the city’s runoff rules were bound to be tripped pitting the top two vote getters in a second election to be held in April.

But even this leg of the race for mayor has made history in the Windy City as the top two vote getters both turned out to be black women. One of the two will prevail in the April 2 runoff election meaning that the city will certainly elect its first black woman, The Hill reported.

The city already had its first female mayor when Jane Byrne took the office for a single term in 1979, and the city’s first black man to take over city hall was Harold Washington, first elected in 1983.

But now it is a black woman’s turn. Facing each other on April 2 will be front runner Lori Lightfoot, who has never served as an elected official, and second place winner Toni Preckwinkle, current Cook County Board President and principal establishment candidate.

The two women beat third place winner William Daley, the son of long-time mayor Richard J. Daley, brother of Mayor Richard M. Daly, and ex-White House chief of staff for Barack Obama.

Of interest, money was no determiner of victory. The candidate with the largest war chest, Bill Daley, came in third. Also, Preckwinkle came in second despite spending $4.5 million on her campaign while Lightfoot spent only $1.5 million to lead the field.

In other races, Alderman Ed Burke handily won re-election despite being under indictment for alleged corruption. But two other alderman who were running under clouds of corruption lost their bids for re-election, including Proco “Joe” Moreno and John Arena.

Moreno had been under fire most recently for allegedly calling the police and filing a false report of car theft after he had loaned his car to his girlfriend. And Arena had been linked to indicted alderman Ed Burke and other untoward incidents.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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