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Chicago is set to elect the first black female mayor in its 181-year history

Chicago is set to elect the first black female mayor in its 181-year history
[Photos: Flickr user Charles Edward Miller (Preckwinkle); Flickr user Daniel X. O’Neil (Lightfoot)]

Whether Lori Lightfoot or Toni Preckwinkle wins the runoff to be Chicago’s next mayor, the winner will make history. One of the two will become Chicago’s first-ever black female mayor. If Lightfoot is elected on April 2, she would become the city’s first openly LGBT mayor, too. Chicago has only had one female mayor in its long history: Jane Byrne, who served one term, from 1979 to 1983.

The race to be the mayor of the third-largest city in the United States was particularly crowded this year, with 14 candidates vying to take the reins of the Windy City from current Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, and Preckwinkle, the Cook County board president, received 17.5% and 16% of the votes, respectively, according to the Chicago Tribune. Since no candidate received more than 50% of the vote, the runoff was triggered.

“This is what change looks like,” said Lightfoot, hinting at the changing face of politics with a record number of women being elected to Congress in 2018 elections. “Not every day, a little black girl in a low-income family from a segregated steel town makes the runoff to be the mayor of the third-largest city in the country.”

Preckwinkle had similar words for her supporters, saying per the Tribune, “We may not yet be at the finish line, but we should acknowledge that history is being made.”

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