In a historic first, a gay black woman was elected mayor of America’s third-largest city Tuesday as Chicago voters entrusted a political novice with tackling difficult problems of economic inequality and gun violence.
Lori Lightfoot, a 56-year-old former federal prosecutor and practicing lawyer who has never before held elected office, won the Midwestern city’s mayoral race in a lopsided victory.
She beat out Toni Preckwinkle, the chief executive of Cook County, in which Chicago is located, by a wide margin of 74 to 26 percent in early voting results with most ballots counted. Preckwinkle is also black.
Lightfoot will become Chicago’s first openly gay mayor and the first black woman to hold the post. Since 1837, Chicago voters have elected only one black mayor and one female mayor.
Her ascendancy to the top of Chicago government was a stunning development in a city where insider deals and entrenched party politics held sway for decades.