Lori Lightfoot is Chicago's newest mayor, succeeding the notoriously corrupt establishment figure Rahm Emmanuel (who quit after two terms, triggering a race), and beating out Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who had been anointed by Chicago's legendarily unassailable Democratic machine as the next mayor.
Lightfoot -- who is Black, queer, and a woman -- ran her campaign as an anti-incumbency, anti-corruption, anti-machine campaign, and caught the mood of the voters, winning in all 50 wards, despite having been viewed as a longshot/lost cause when she kicked it off last year.
Unofficial totals give Lightfoot 74% of the popular vote.
Two other Black people served as mayor of Chicago; one other woman has held the office. Lightfoot is the first openly gay mayor in Chicago history.
Lightfoot also campaigned on affordable housing, police accountability, and increased public services.
The prime example became Lightfoot and Preckwinkle’s disagreement over so-called aldermanic privilege or prerogative, in which aldermen have veto power of zoning and permitting decisions in their wards. That power played a key role in the charge against Burke, who has been accused of holding up a permit for the owner of major fast-food chain in his ward in exchange for the business owner giving property tax appeals business to Burke’s law firm.
Lightfoot called for an end to aldermanic privilege while Preckwinkle, a former alderman, defended the practice and said instead council members shouldn’t be allowed to hold outside jobs.
"There is no doubt in my mind that in the coming days, and weeks at the most, we're going to see a series of indictments from my former colleagues at the U.S. attorney's office, and it is going to center around this issue of aldermanic prerogative,” Lightfoot predicted in a debate with Preckwinkle. “We need to be on the right side of history on this issue."
Lori Lightfoot elected Chicago mayor, making her the first African-American woman to lead the city [Bill Ruthhart/Chicago Tribune]
(Image: MacLean Center, CC-BY)