Chicagoan Lori Lightfoot, the first Black lesbian mayoral candidate in the city's history, won the Feb. 26 general election. She had won about 17.69 percent of the vote as of 10:30 p.m. in an incredibly crowded candidate poolarmed with a smaller financial war chest than many of her competitorsso she'll face off April 2 against runner-up candidate Toni Preckwinkle, who garnered about 15.95 percent of the vote..
About 95.36 percent of precincts had reported by press time.
In her victory speech, accompanied onstage by her wife and daughter, Lightfoot asked: "So what do you think of us now?"
Lightfoot announced her candidacy in May 2018, long before Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced he'd be leaving office in 2019, setting into motion a contest that saw well over a dozen mayoral candidates enter the field. A former prosecutor who headed up the Chicago Police Board, Lightfoot is running for office for the first time.
"As an LGBTQ-plus person, I thought about running for mayor when no other LGBTQ-plus person had ever made the ballot," said Lightfoot in her Feb. 26 remarks.
"This election is about whether we are resigned to the status quo or resolved to fight for what's right," she added. "This election is about leaving the crumbling machine in the past, once and for all, and demanding an independent, accountable City Hall that serves the people. It's time to bring it home."
She also spoke about her roots, and how her family's experiences when her brother was incarcerated influenced her world-view: "It's not every day that a little Black girl from a segregated steel town makes the runoff to become the mayor in America's third largest city."
Lightfoot acknowledged her support from Equality Illinois PAC and Victory Fund. Those organizations wasted no time in announcing their congratulations in statements.
"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."
"Despite not having a legacy last name or a rolodex of rich friends, Lori's fighting spirit and ability to transcend the murky machinations of Chicago politics has made the unlikely a reality and Chicagoans will be better for it," said Annise Parker, Victory Fund's president and CEO. "While Lori is determined to improve the lives of all the city's residentswhether downtown or on the South Sidethe historic nature of her candidacy provides Chicagoans the rare opportunity to bring fresh perspectives and experiences to city hall."
In her speech Feb. 26, Preckwinkle came out swinging in remarks, denouncing Lightfoot for having accepted appointments in Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Mayor Richard M. Daley's administrations.
She added, "I'm not afraid of big challenges and hard work. … My entire career has prepared me for this moment. … This race is is not about me; it's about all of us. It's about our shared vision for this city."
Anna Valencia was against two candidates who had removals pendingso she received all the votes.
In a competitive race, Melissa Conyers-Ervin and Ameya Pawar are headed for an April 2 runoff.
With all 50 Chicago City Council seats up for grabs, it was a mixed bag for incumbents and challengersand one for LGBT candidates as well. ( Results with asterisks denote races with LGBT individuals involved. )
To win a Chicago race outright, a candidate must win more than 50 percent of the vote. If that does not happen, each race will go to an April 2 runoff between the top two finishers.
NOTE: These results are as of 10 p.m. on Feb. 26. Results will be updated online as they are finalized.
1st Ward: Incumbent Proco "Joe" Moreno was upset by challenger Daniel La Spata 61 percent to 39 percent, losing the seat he has held since 2010. Both had been in the news latelyLa Spata for a controversial photo, and Moreno for an alleged false police report.
2nd Ward: Incumbent Brian Hopkins was unchallenged.
3rd Ward: Incumbent Pat Dowell easily defeated challenger Alexandria Willis.
4th Ward: Incumbent Sophia King easily defeated Ebony D. Lucas.
5th Ward: Incumbent Leslie Hairston is apparently headed for a runoff against William Calloway.
6th Ward: Incumbent Roderick T. Sawyer snagged 51 percent of the votes, besting two challengers.
7th Ward: Incumbent Gregory I. Mitchell rolled over two other candidates, including well-known activist Jedidiah Brown.
8th Ward: Incumbent Michelle Harris easily dispatched three challengers.
9th Ward: Incumbent Anthony Beale also defeated three people.
10th Ward: Incumbent Susan Sadlowski Garza won over Bobby Loncar.
*11th Ward: Openly gay David Mihalyfy fell to incumbent Patrick Daley Thompson.
12th Ward: Incumbent George Cardenas had just more than 50 percent of the vote against three challengers.
13th Ward: In a controversial and closely watched race, incumbent Marty Quinn rolled over challenger David Krupa, 85 percent to 15 percent.
14th Ward: In another race engulfed in controversy, incumbent Ed Burke had more than 55 percent of the vote against two challengers.
*15th Ward: Openly gay incumbent Raymond Lopez had four challengersand is headed toward a runoff against Rafael Yanez, even though Lopez got 49 percent of the vote.
16th Ward: Incumbent Toni Foulkes had five challengersand finished second to Stephanie Coleman to force a runoff, but the results showed she has work to do.
17th Ward: Incumbent David Moore easily defeated Raynetta Greenleaf.
18th Ward: Incumbent Derrick Curtis easily won over Chuks Onyezia.
19th Ward: Incumbent Matthew O'Shea easily defeated David Dewar.
20th Ward: Nine people competed to succeed embattled Ald. Willie Cochran, who is facing federal criminal charges. Jeanette B. Taylor and Nicole Johnson are apparently headed for a runoff.
21st Ward: Incumbent Howard Brookins Jr. ( 46 percent ) seems to be headed to a runoff against Marvin McNeil ( 25 percent ).
22nd Ward: Four people were in the race to succeed another embattled politician: retiring Ald. Ricardo Munoz. Michael Rodriguez won more than 60 percent of the vote to take the seat.
23rd Ward: Silvana Tabares, a former state representative, was just appointed alderman of this ward last year ( replacing retired Ald. Mike Zalewski )and she easily beat challenger Paulino Villarreal.
24th Ward: Incumbent Michael Scott Jr. defeated three people: Creative Scott, Toriano Sanzone and Traci "Treasure" Johnson.
25th Ward: Another ward, and there's another retiring politicianin this case, Ald. Danny Solis, whose situation has been in the press extensively. Out of five candidates ( all millennials ) aiming to succeed Solis, Byron Sigcho-Lopez and Alex Acevedo will face off April 2.
26th Ward: Incumbent Ald. Roberto Maldonado appeared to have held on to his seat against challenges from Theresa Siaw and David Herrera.
27th Ward: Incumbent Ald. Walter Burnett defeated challenger Cynthia Bednarz.
28th Ward: Ald. Jason Ervin retained his seat after challenges from Miguel Bautista, Jasmine Jackson and Beverly Miles.
29th Ward: Ald. Chris Taliaferro defeated challengers Dwayne Truss and Zerlina Smith.
30th Ward: As of press time, a run off seemed likely between Ald. Ariel Reboyras and challenger Jessica Gutierrez, daughter of former U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez. A second challenger, Edgar Esparza, came in third.
*31st Ward: Ald. Milagros Santiago seemed likely to be in a runoff with challenger Felix Cardona, Jr. Openly gay challenger Colin Bird-Martinez came in third.
32nd Ward: Incumbent Scott Waguespack, who has been a prominent player in the Council's Progressive Caucus, ran unopposed and will retain his seat.
*33rd Ward: A runoff seems likely, with lesbian Ald. Deb Mell garnering 41 percent of the vote. Opponent Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez came in ahead of Mell, with 42 percent. A third candidate, Katie Sieracki, got 17 percent of the vote.
34th Ward: Ald. Carrie Austin defeated challenger Preston Brown, Jr.
*35th Ward: Incumbent Ald. Carlo Ramirez-Rosa, who is openly gay, defeated Amanda Yu Dietrich.
36th Ward: Incumbent Gilbert Villegas, who ran unopposed, will retain his seat.
37th Ward: Ald. Emma Mitts defeated challengers Tara Stamps and Deondre Rutues.
38th Ward: incumbent Nicolas Sposato ran unopposed and will retain his seat.
39th Ward: A runoff contest between candidates Samantha Nugent and Robert Murphy seems likely. Casey Smagala and Joe Duplechin also competed for the post.
*40th Ward: A runoff contest seems likely between Ald. Patrick O'Connor and challenger Andre Vasquez. Other candidates included Ugo Okere, Dianne Daleiden and Maggie O'Keefe. O'Keefe identifies as queer.
41st Ward: Ald. Anthony Napolitano defeated Tim Heneghan.
42nd Ward: Longtime incumbent Brenden Reilly ran unopposed and will retain his seat.
43rd Ward: Incumbent Ald. Michele Smith will likely be in a runoff with challenger Derek Lindblom. Other candidates included Leslie Fox, Jacob Ringer, Steven McClellan and Rebecca Janowitz.
*44th Ward: Longtime Ald. Tom Tunney, the first openly gay official on the Chicago City Council, held onto his seat after a challenge from Austin Baidas, who is also gay, and Elizabeth Shydlowski.
*45th Ward: Ald. John Arena was defeated by challenger James Gardiner; Robert Bank and lesbian candidate Marilyn Morales were also in the race.
*46th Ward: Openly gay Ald. James Cappleman appeared to be headed for a runoff election with Marianne Lalonde as of press time. Erika Wozniak Francis, Justin Kreindler, Angela Clay and Jon-Robert McDowell also challenged Cappleman for the post.
*47th Ward: Outgoing Ald. Ameya Pawar's seat will go to the winner of a runoff election between Matt Martin and Michael Negron. Eileen Dordek, Angela Maloney ( who is a lesbian ), Heather Way Kitzes, Gus Katsafaros, Thomas Schwartzers, Kimball Ladien and Jeff Jenkins were also in the race.
48th Ward: Incumbent Ald. Harry Osterman will retain his seat, having defeated challenger David Earl Williams.
*49th Ward: Longtime incumbent Ald. Joe Moore was defeated by an aggressive challenge from queer candidate Maria Hadden, who garnered about 64 percent of the vote.
*50th Ward: Ald. Debra Silverstein, the incumbent 50th ward council representative, defeated her challengers Andrew Rowlas, who is gay, and Zehra Quadri.