Lightfoot and Preckwinkle Headed to April Mayoral Runoff

Photos courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsLightfoot and Preckwinkle will go to a runoff election to become the city's first African-American female mayor.

After a crowded 14-person race for Chicago’s mayoral seat, Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot will face each other in a runoff election April 2 to become Chicago’s first African-American, female mayor.

Current mayor Rahm Emanuel — who’s held office since 2011 — decided not to seek reelection.

Lightfoot had 17 percent of the vote share and Preckwinkle had 16 percent with 95 percent of the precincts reporting shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday night.

The race was tight — none of the candidates running won more than 50 percent of the vote needed to win the election, which led to the two-person runoff.

Four Loyola alumni were candidates in the race — Bill Daley, Gery Chico, La Shawn Ford and Jerry Joyce.

The Chicago Board of Elections showed 519,000 voters cast ballots for the municipal election as of 11:15 p.m., Tuesday night, according to an unofficial report.

Trailing Preckwinkle and Lightfoot was Daley with 14.6 percent. The Loyola alumnus conceded shortly before 10 p.m.

Preckwinkle has worked as a Cook County Board president, alderwoman and teacher in Chicago. If elected, she wants to focus on improving Chicago’s public school system by reducing the number of school closures and pushing for an elected school board. Preckwinkle has also said she wants to improve public safety and justice in the police department, among other issues.

Lightfoot has worked most notably as an attorney and as the president of the Chicago Police Board. If she wins the runoff, she wants to work on improving the quality of public school education, preventing gun violence and making Chicago a more affordable place to live.

Following the shooting of Laquan McDonald in 2014, Emanuel appointed Lightfoot to a task force to look into the practices of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), which eventually led to an investigation of CPD by the U.S. Justice Department.

A federal case unsealed Jan. 3 revealed charges of attempted extortion against 14th Ward alderman Ed Burke for trying to use his political status to gain business for his law firm.

Specifically, he allegedly held up city approval for a Burger King’s renovations to get the owner to hire his law firm. He also allegedly attempted to get the owner to donate to Preckwinkle’s 2018 campaign for Cook County Board President.

Burke sat on Loyola’s Council of Regents before his name was removed from its website, The Phoenix reported.

Preckwinkle’s campaign said the money was returned and she’s said she knew nothing about the alleged shakedown. Despite the baggage Preckwinkle has had to deal with during her run for mayor, she pointed out Lightfoot has been appointed to various positions under former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Emanuel in her advancement speech at the headquarters Tuesday night, implying Lightfoot might not be as independent as she portrays herself to be.

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