Chicago city elections make history, LGBTQ candidate in run off
CHICAGO — No matter who wins the April runoff, Chicago will make history. The winner will be the city’s first African-American female mayor and Chicago will also become the largest city to have an African-American woman as mayor.
If Lori Lightfoot wins, she’ll be the first out LGBTQ mayor of the city and Chicago will be the largest city to have an LGBTQ leader.
Lightfoot will be going against Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President, on April 2. They were the two top vote getters in a field of 14 candidates, the largest and most diverse in the city’s history. Because of the large number of candidates, no one even came close to getting 50 percent plus one. Lightfoot is the frontrunner with only 17.5% of the vote and Preckwinkle got 15.9%, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. WGN-TV reported that only 7,800 votes separate the two. The Sun-Times reported that there were still around 31,000 mail-in ballots that still needed to be counted.
Other LGBTQ people also kept their seats on the city council or were newly elected. Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa(35th Ward) and Alderman Tom Tunney (44th Ward) both won re-election and Maria Hadden, was elected from the 49th Ward and will be the first LGBTQ woman of color on the city council. However, two LGBTQ council members will have run offs. NBC Chicago reported that James Cappleman (46th Ward) and Deborah Mell (33rd Ward) will face challengers one more time in the April 2 run off election.
Equality Illinois congratulated the aldermanic winners on their social media and released a statement on Lightfoot.
“While we wait for every vote to be counted, we are incredibly thrilled with the votes that have come in,” said Equality Illinois CEO Brian Johnson. “We congratulate Lori Lightfoot for advancing to the April 2 run-off election and her historic candidacy as the first-ever openly queer person to run for mayor of Chicago. That is a significant milestone in Chicago and Illinois history. Representation matters. Now, let’s bring it home on April 2 and elect Lori Lightfoot Mayor of Chicago.”
But there were still some sour grapes. The Illinois Republican Party sent out this tweet for Susana Mendoza, who came in sixth:
— IL Republican Party (@ILGOP) February 27, 2019
People immediately pointed out how racist that was to the daughter of Mexican immigrants. The GOP said in a follow up tweet that it was in reference to a campaign commercial that accused of Mendoza “double dipping” on taxpayer funds. It should be noted that the closest the GOP came to having any candidate was Willie Wilson, who made fourth place and was endorsed by the Northwest Chicago Republican Club.