Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle head for runoff in Chicago Mayoral Election

By: Flomo Yarkapawolo

Come April 2, Chicago will elect its first black woman as mayor. The two leading contenders in Chicago’s February 26th election were African-American women. The more popular Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and political outsider Lori Lightfoot reached a runoff. Neither of the two ladies received more than the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.  The winner will succeed Mayor Rahm Emanuel and become the first black woman and second black person to lead the nation’s third-largest city.


Preckwinkle, 71-year-old, previously served 19 years on the City Council and is the current President of the Cook County Board, the Executive Branch of Cook County government. There are 135 incorporated cities in Cook County, the largest of which is Chicago. Prior to politics, Preckwinkle was a Chicago Public School teacher.

Lori Lightfoot, 56-year-old, a University of Chicago Law School alum (J.D. ’89), is the first openly gay woman to run for Chicago mayor. She is a former federal prosecutor. Lightfoot grew up in Massillon, Ohio and moved to Chicago to practice law after graduating from the University of Michigan.

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