State Watch

Chicago’s next mayor will be a black woman

Two African-American women will face off in April for the right to become Chicago’s 45th mayor after advancing in Tuesday’s primary election.
With 1916 of 2169 precincts reporting, Lori Lightfoot, a former Chicago Police Board president and assistant United States attorney, led the field of 14 candidates with 17.5 percent of the vote. 
Toni Preckwinkle, the president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, was holding on to second place with 15.9 percent of the vote.
If the results hold, Lightfoot, 56, and Preckwinkle, 71, will meet in a runoff on April 2. The winner will replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who decided last year he would not run for reelection after two tumultuous terms in office.
The winner would become Chicago’s second-ever female mayor, its second-ever elected African-American mayor and the first African-American woman to serve as mayor.{mosads}
Lightfoot, who has held several appointed offices but has never won elected office, ran on a pledge to root out corruption and dysfunction at City Hall. She cast herself as an outsider at a time when several insiders, including Preckwinkle, were forced to defend their ties to indicted aldermen and other elected officials.
Preckwinkle began the race with the highest name recognition. First elected to the Chicago City Council in 1991, she won the presidency of the Cook County Board — a countywide office — in 2010. She had support from Valerie Jarrett, the former top aide to President Obama, and Tina Tchen, who served as first lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff.
But Preckwinkle faced criticism for her ties to Alderman Ed Burke, who faces federal corruption charges and who directed contributions to Preckwinkle’s campaign, and for her slow response to a chief of staff who had been accused of sexual harassment. Preckwinkle eventually fired the former aide.
The two front-runners appeared to have beaten out William Daley, the businessman, former White House chief of staff under Obama and brother and son of former mayors whose campaign spent $8 million on the race, far more than any other candidate. Daley was running in third place, about 6,400 votes shy of securing the second spot in the runoff. Daley conceded Tuesday evening
Philanthropist Willie Wilson, state Comptroller Susana Mendoza (D), activist and organizer Amara Enyia and several former city officials all trailed by wider margins. 
Preckwinkle spent $4.5 million, while Lightfoot spent only about $1.5 million on her campaign. Others, like former Chicago Public Schools President Gery Chico, Mendoza and attorney Jerry Joyce all spent far more than did Lightfoot.
If Lightfoot’s strong showing hinted at a city that hoped to move past scandals and public corruption, some Chicago voters on Tuesday registered their approval of the status quo. 
Burke, the alderman under federal indictment, was coasting to victory over two lesser-known challengers. Marty Quinn, who represents Illinois House Speaker and Democratic Party boss Mike Madigan’s home ward and whose brother faced allegations of sexual harassment, also won election to another term by a wide margin.
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