CHICAGO (WLS) —
Five weeks from now, history will be made in Chicago and the city will have its first African-American female mayor.
Political outsider Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle were the top two vote-getters among 14 candidates running for mayor in Tuesday’s election. Neither received more than the 50 percent, so there will be a runoff on April 2.
Lightfoot captured more than 90,000 votes and Preckwinkle received more than 83,000. Bill Daley came in third.
The two women who are now in the runoff to replace Rahm Emanuel as mayor wasted no time hitting the campaign trail this morning in what is shaping up to be a race that will offer voters some sharp contrasts.
Find out more about each candidate in the videos below:
Lori Lightfoot was out thanking voters at the L-stop in the Thompson Center. She was the top vote-getter in the mayor’s race last night, but welcomes the underdog role she will likely take into the runoff.
She believes she will offer voters a real choice, an opportunity to in her words wipe the slate clean. The former federal prosecutor and president of the Chicago Police Board rode the support of the North Side Lakefront Liberals to victory and relishes being an outsider.
“I am an independent reform candidate,” Lightfoot said. “I do not represent the past. I am not tied to the broken political machine. I didn’t aspire to climb the ranks of the Cook County Democratic Party to be the party boss. I am not affiliated with Ed Burke, or Joe Berrios or anyone else who really represents the old corrupt Chicago way.”
Toni Preckwinkle was out Wednesday morning as well, thanking supporters at the 95th Street Red Line Stop. It’s clear that she will be touting her experience that began as an alderman and trying to paint Lightfoot as not ready for the job.
Preckwinkle also brings with her a huge amount of union support, but also a lot of baggage with her ties to Alderman Ed Burke and several scandals with staffers. She said she was the original progressive with the track record to prove it.
“As executive of the county, I have managed the second-largest county in the second-largest county in the country for the last eight years and we’ve done that reducing expenses by $850 million, reducing our workforce and our indebtedness,” Preckwinkle said. “I have both local government experience and management experience in a large unit of government and I think that those are things that will appeal to the voters.”
Both candidates said they will be reaching out to their former rivals to try and line up support before the runoff. They also must figure out how to court the business community. The runoff is April 2.
“There are a lot of free agent voters out there. Both candidates have a lot of work to do to try and organize and rally those voters,” said David Axelrod, director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
Wednesday morning, Willie Wilson conceded the election, saying, “After a full year of visiting our 77 communities and talking with the citizens of Chicago, the voters have spoken.
“I congratulate and wish the best of blessings on the citizens of our great City and both Lori Lightfood and Toni Preckwinkle in the upcoming run-off election.
Who are Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle?
Lori Lightfoot grew up in Ohio. She went to the University of Michigan and received a full scholarship to study law at the University of Chicago.
She faces off against Toni Preckwinckle, a five-term alderman who has served as Cook County Board president for the past nine years.
The underdog versus the party boss and now voters will have a little over four weeks to decide.
Chicago voters have narrowed the race for mayor down to two choices. Kimberly Kelly cast her ballot for Lori Lightfoot.
“I really thought it was gonna be Preckwinkle and Daley going head to head, so it was a pleasant surprise when I woke up this morning,” she said.
Lightfoot who is openly gay, is best known for her work as a federal prosecutor, as the chair of the Police Accountability Task Force and the president of the Chicago Police Board.
The 56-year-old says she is ready for the run-off fight against opponent and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle who also has support.
“She did a lot for Chicago,” said voter Stephen Williams. “I think so she has I think a good spirit which has a lot to do with leading people.”
Despite who wins the race, Chicago will have an African-American woman serving as mayor. A historic moment in the city’s history.
“It would be prideful to me, obviously being an African-American, so I’m gonna be happy with the results of who wins, but obviously I’m gonna vote for the candidate that aligns most with my views,” said voter Corey Taliaferro.
“They just seemed like the ones that would naturally rise to the top,” said voter Gloria Lasley. “I know there was a lot of speculation behind Daley but I think we’re all a little tire of having the same families representing.”
Wednesday morning, some voters said they have homework on the candidates to do, but certain qualities must become clear.
“A commitment to solving the crime issue, a commitment to our children moving forward and a commitment to rooting out corruption,” said voter Sean Kelly
ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington says it’s apparent that voters wanted change.
“I think it says a lot about where we are in this country in terms of women’s dominance, women getting engaged in politics, women being taken seriously as candidates,” Washington said.
Lori Lightfoot and her spouse live on the Near Northwest Side with their 10-year old daughter. Toni Preckwinkle has two children with her ex-husband.
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