Former Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot defeated Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle in Chicago’s mayoral runoff election Tuesday. With 66 percent of precincts reporting, Lightfoot received 74 percent of the vote to Preckwinkle’s 26 percent.
Lightfoot was president of the Chicago Police Board from 2015 to 2018. She also chaired the Police Accountability Task Force and was a senior equity partner at the law firm Mayer Brown. Lightfoot held several positions in city government under former Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Both Lightfoot and Preckwinkle described themselves as the progressive in the race and called each other’s progressive credentials into question based on their political and professional histories.
Lightfoot presented herself as the reform candidate who is independent of corrupt machine-style politics. She noted her background as a senior equity partner and her past roles in city government, saying she had requisite experience managing teams and budgets. Lightfoot referred to Preckwinkle as a party boss due to her roles as Cook County Democratic Party chair and former party committeewoman.
Preckwinkle highlighted her experience as an alderman and Cook County Board of Commissioners president, saying she had the experience to run the city and a progressive record. She contrasted her experience in elected office with Lightfoot’s previous appointments to positions by mayors, saying the latter connected Lightfoot to the political elite, and criticized elements of Lightfoot’s legal career.
The 2019 race was Chicago’s fourth open-seat mayoral race in 100 years and the second mayoral runoff election in the city’s history. Lightfoot will be the city’s first female African-American mayor and its first openly gay mayor.
Chicago also held runoff elections for 15 city council seats and for city treasurer Tuesday.