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Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s Incoming Mayor, Ran on Outsider Appeal
CHICAGO — After Rahm Emanuel announced he would not seek another term as Chicago’s mayor, the field of would-be replacements seemed to grow by the day. Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor who had never held elective office, often seemed an afterthought in a mounting list of prominent names — a member of the Daley political dynasty, the head of the county’s Democratic Party, a former leader of Chicago’s public school system.
Yet on Tuesday, voters sided with Ms. Lightfoot in overwhelming margins, handing her a resounding victory as she prepares to become the first African-American woman and first openly gay person to serve as Chicago’s mayor. Ms. Lightfoot’s outsider status and her pledge to combat political corruption resonated across the city’s traditional dividing lines of race and class. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, she had received 73 percent of the vote and was leading in all 50 City Council wards.
“Today, you did more than make history,” Ms. Lightfoot told a packed ballroom of her supporters that chanted her name on Tuesday night. “You created a movement for change.”
[Read how Chicago became the largest American city to elect a black woman as its mayor, and how Chicagoans feel about it.]
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Ms. Lightfoot, a Democrat, used her acceptance speech to underscore the historic nature of her victory. As her wife and daughter stood nearby, Ms. Lightfoot said her win proved that Chicago was “a city where it doesn’t matter what color you are” and “where it doesn’t matter who you love, just as long as you love with all your heart.” She also reiterated her promise to invest in struggling neighborhoods, not just the booming downtown, a hallmark theme of her campaign pitch.
“We can and will make Chicago a place where your ZIP code doesn’t determine your destiny,” she said.
Ms. Lightfoot finished with the most support among 14 candidates in February’s first-round, nonpartisan election. In Tuesday’s runoff, she broadened that appeal and soundly defeated Toni Preckwinkle, a longtime politician who leads the county board and local Democratic Party. The two women will soon have offices in the same building, and have vowed to work together despite a campaign that was often acrimonious.
In the Logan Square neighborhood on the city’s Northwest Side, Deepti Pareenja, 37, said she voted for Ms. Lightfoot on Tuesday in part because of the candidate’s lack of political experience.
Ms. Lightfoot campaigned with supporters last week. She presented herself on the campaign trail as an antidote to Rahm Emanuel’s eight years in office and as an answer to the city’s far longer tradition of machine politics.CreditMichelle V. Agins/The New York Times
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Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s Incoming Mayor, Ran on Outsider Appeal


Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s Incoming Mayor, Ran on Outsider Appeal
CHICAGO — After Rahm Emanuel announced he would not seek another term as Chicago’s mayor, the field of would-be replacements seemed to grow by the day. Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor who had never held elective office, often seemed an afterthought in a mounting list of prominent names — a member of the Daley political dynasty, the head of the county’s Democratic Party, a former leader of Chicago’s public school system.
Yet on Tuesday, voters sided with Ms. Lightfoot in overwhelming margins, handing her a resounding victory as she prepares to become the first African-American woman and first openly gay person to serve as Chicago’s mayor. Ms. Lightfoot’s outsider status and her pledge to combat political corruption resonated across the city’s traditional dividing lines of race and class. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, she had received 73 percent of the vote and was leading in all 50 City Council wards.
“Today, you did more than make history,” Ms. Lightfoot told a packed ballroom of her supporters that chanted her name on Tuesday night. “You created a movement for change.”
[Read how Chicago became the largest American city to elect a black woman as its mayor, and how Chicagoans feel about it.]
Advertisement
Ms. Lightfoot, a Democrat, used her acceptance speech to underscore the historic nature of her victory. As her wife and daughter stood nearby, Ms. Lightfoot said her win proved that Chicago was “a city where it doesn’t matter what color you are” and “where it doesn’t matter who you love, just as long as you love with all your heart.” She also reiterated her promise to invest in struggling neighborhoods, not just the booming downtown, a hallmark theme of her campaign pitch.
“We can and will make Chicago a place where your ZIP code doesn’t determine your destiny,” she said.
Ms. Lightfoot finished with the most support among 14 candidates in February’s first-round, nonpartisan election. In Tuesday’s runoff, she broadened that appeal and soundly defeated Toni Preckwinkle, a longtime politician who leads the county board and local Democratic Party. The two women will soon have offices in the same building, and have vowed to work together despite a campaign that was often acrimonious.
In the Logan Square neighborhood on the city’s Northwest Side, Deepti Pareenja, 37, said she voted for Ms. Lightfoot on Tuesday in part because of the candidate’s lack of political experience.
Ms. Lightfoot campaigned with supporters last week. She presented herself on the campaign trail as an antidote to Rahm Emanuel’s eight years in office and as an answer to the city’s far longer tradition of machine politics.CreditMichelle V. Agins/The New York Times
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