CHICAGO — Lori Lightfoot won a resounding victory on Tuesday to become both the first African-American woman and openly gay person elected mayor of Chicago, dealing a stinging defeat to a political establishment that has reigned over City Hall for decades.
With roughly 97 percent of the city’s precincts reporting, Lightfoot had swept all 50 of Chicago’s wards, winning 74 percent of the unofficial vote to 26 percent for Toni Preckwinkle. Lightfoot will be sworn in as Chicago’s 56th mayor on May 20 while Preckwinkle will return to her third term running the county after a humiliating defeat that included losing her own 4th Ward by 20 points.
Background: Lori Lightfoot was an appointee of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration before she decided to try to end it. She announced a run against Emanuel in May 2018, after the mayor had appointed her to two different policing boards. She is the first openly lesbian candidate to run for Chicago mayor. Lightfoot has been highly critical of efforts to reform the Police Department in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting and targeted big-name opponents who got in the race after Emanuel dropped his bid for a third term as not having the guts to run “before Goliath was slayed.”
Born: Massillon, Ohio
Personal: Married to Amy Eshleman with a 10-year-old daughter
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Michigan; Juris Doctor, University of Chicago
Neighborhood: Logan Square
Current job: Left her position as a law partner at Mayer Brown to run for mayor
Government experience: Assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois (1996-2002); chief administrator, Chicago Police Department Office of Professional Standards (2002-04); chief of staff and general counsel, Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (2004-05); first deputy procurement officer, Chicago Department of Procurement Services (2005); co-chair, Chicago Police Accountability Task Force (2016); president, Chicago Police Board (2015-18).
Political experience: This is Lightfoot’s first run for public office.
Key policies: 1) Pass ordinance ensuring affordable housing will be built in all wards; 2) Create a new Mayor’s Office of Public Safety to drive down crime and reform policing; 3) Approve a graduated real estate transfer tax to create more funding to eliminate homelessness; 4) Tax large law and accounting firms to help shore up City Hall finances; 5) Increase the city’s hotel tax by a percentage point or two to fund the arts; 6) Phase out the city’s red light cameras.
Key positions: 1) Eliminate the Police Department’s gang database; 2) Create civilian oversight of the Police Department; 3) Abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; 4) Eliminate elected city treasurer and city clerk’s offices; 5) Merge the administration of the city’s four pension funds.
Campaign slogan: “Bring in the Light”
Campaign website: www.lightfootforchicago.com