U-High Midway

Lightfoot wins historic Chicago mayoral election

The+campaign+signs+for+Lightfoot+and+Preckwinkle+have+been+all+over+Hyde+Park+and+Chicago+for+a+few+months+now.
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Lightfoot wins historic Chicago mayoral election

The campaign signs for Lightfoot and Preckwinkle have been all over Hyde Park and Chicago for a few months now.

The campaign signs for Lightfoot and Preckwinkle have been all over Hyde Park and Chicago for a few months now.

Abigael Thinakaran

The campaign signs for Lightfoot and Preckwinkle have been all over Hyde Park and Chicago for a few months now.

Abigael Thinakaran

Abigael Thinakaran

The campaign signs for Lightfoot and Preckwinkle have been all over Hyde Park and Chicago for a few months now.

Leland Culver and Berk Oto

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“Together we can and will remake Chicago. Thriving, prosperous, better, stronger, fairer for everyone,” Lori Lightfoot said in a victory speech the night of April 2, having just won the mayoral election in a landslide.

Ms. Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, won 74% of the vote, carrying each of the city’s 50 wards. The Associated Press declared Ms. Lightfoot victorious over Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle a mere 45 minutes after polls closed at 7 p.m.

Citywide turnout for the runoff election was nearly 32%, about the same as the Feb. 26 general election.

Ms. Lightfoot will be Chicago’s first African-American woman and first openly gay mayor. She will be sworn in as Chicago’s 56th mayor on May 20.

Even though Ms. Preckwinkle lost the election, she will remain Cook County Board president.

“I may be disappointed, but I’m not disheartened,” Ms. Preckwinkle said to her supporters April 2. “The work we’ve done, the values we’ve brought, that’s not over.”

Before she was Cook County Board president, Ms. Preckwinkle was alderman for the 4th Ward, which includes parts of Hyde Park, and she lives in the neighborhood.

Ms. Lightfoot ran a positive, anti-corruption campaign, branding herself as a progressive outsider.

“We can and we will break this city’s endless cycle of corruption, and never again allow politicians to profit from their elected positions,” she said.

Leland Culver
Many of Ms. Preckwinkle’s signs were modified with a sticker that reads “Black Men Against…”

She has not held prior elected office but served most recently as president of the Chicago Police Board and held in other positions in the Chicago government.

“Lori Lightfoot is less of a career politician whereas Toni Preckwinkle is someone you’ve seen in politics for a really long time. I think she has a new opinion — something a little bit different,” U-High senior Campbell Phalen, who voted for Ms. Lightfoot, said.

Lightfoot made her campaign in part about rewriting what many see as a tired and restrictive system, and voters seemed to respond to her message of changing the status quo.

“This is not us versus them, or neighborhoods versus downtown. We are in this together and we will grow together,” Ms. Lightfoot said in her victory speech.

Even though Lightfoot supporters are largely optimistic for the new mayor, some are still skeptical.

“I’m hoping that everything [Lori] promised will happen,” U-High senior Chauson Dam said. “I’m a bit skeptical because funding always becomes an issue in policy-making. I still have hope.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has already met with Mayor-elect Lightfoot about challenges and opportunities facing the city.

“It is abundantly clear that we both share a deep love for this city and a commitment to work together to move all of its communities forward,” Mr. Emanuel tweeted after his meeting with Ms. Lightfoot.

Leland Culver
Alderman Leslie Hairston will likely be the Alderman of the 5th Ward.

In other elections, Illinois state representative Melissa Conyears-Ervin was elected city treasurer with 60 percent of the vote. She echoed Lightfoot’s anti-corruption rhetoric, saying she would bring a watchdog mentality to the position.

In the race for 5th Ward alderman, where the Laboratory Schools are located, incumbent Leslie Hairston holds onto a tentative 206 vote lead over challenger William Calloway with 40 of 41 precincts reporting. Mr. Calloway has claimed the position of change and touted his grassroots support, while Ald. Hairston has leaned on her established 20-year record. Ald. Hairston is a 1979 U-High alumna.

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Lightfoot wins historic Chicago mayoral election