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Chicago makes history electing Lori Lightfoot as first black woman mayor

By: Paige Hubbard 

Lori Lightfoot, a political newcomer, was elected the first black female mayor of Chicago on Tuesday (April 02), defeating opponent Toni Preckwinkle by a landslide in a runoff to take over a city struggling with crime and weak finances.

A former federal prosecutor, Lightfoot won 74 percent of the vote with nearly all precincts counted compared with 26 percent for Preckwinkle, a long-time local politician, to become Chicago’s 56th mayor.

Lightfoot, 56, who will also become the first openly gay mayor of the third-largest U.S. city, appealed to voters who are tired of politics as usual.

She has never held political office, while Preckwinkle, 72, was a city councilwoman for almost 20 years before becoming Cook County board president in 2010.

The runoff between two African-American women was a rarity in the United States, where only 6 percent of mayors in the 200 largest U.S. cities are women of color, according to the Reflective Democracy Campaign.

Lightfoot will replace Rahm Emanuel, who did not seek a third term.

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