Tonight, in a runoff race, Chicago elected Lori Lightfoot mayor, according to the Chicago Tribune. Lightfoot beat challenger Toni Preckwinkle to become the city’s first black female mayor. With her win, Chicago becomes the most prominent American city to elect an openly LGBTQ person mayor.
Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, won in what appears to be a landslide victory. She currently has 74 percent of the vote to Preckwinkle’s 26 percent, with 80 percent of precincts reporting, according to unofficial tallies.
Chicago’s current mayor, the embattled Rahm Emanuel, announced last year that he wouldn’t be seeking another term.
In the race, Lightfoot was seen as a force for change, as a candidate with no prior experience as an elected official. Her opponent, Preckwinkle, has spent several decades in Chicago politics, and served for years on the Cook County Board, where she is currently president.
Lightfoot and Preckwinkle came out on top in February’s mayoral race of over a dozen candidates, triggering a runoff. Both are Democrats, and cast themselves as progressives.
LGBTQ advocates celebrated Lightfoot’s election.
“Now young queer women and women of color can see themselves reflected in a position of major political leadership,” Stephanie Sandberg, the executive director of LPAC, an organization that helps LGBTQ women achieve political power, told the New York Times.
But though tonight is a victory for the LGBTQ community, criminal justice reform advocates were disappointed by Lightfoot’s background as a prosecutor in a city that has faced a reckoning over police killings and corruption. Lightfoot was endorsed by the business community, major media outlets including the Tribune, and many of the losing mayoral candidates, while Preckwinkle was supported by the Chicago Teacher’s Union, Rep. Bobby Rush, and local public figures like Chance the Rapper.
Lightfoot’s platform included increased public housing, creating a public office to reform policing and increase public safety, and a real estate transfer tax to address homelessness.