Former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot took home the victory in Chicago’s mayoral race on Tuesday, making her the city’s first African American female mayor, the Associated Press projected.
She had 74% of the vote with 66% of the precincts reporting as of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The 56-year-old political newcomer defeated Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, a 72-year-old former school teacher with nearly two decades of experience in public office.
The two Democrats took the lead in a crowded field of 14 candidates in the February general election to succeed two-term Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel was not seeking re-election.
Lightfoot, also slated to become the city’s first openly gay mayor, will be sworn in May 20. She campaigned on a promise to be a voice for low-income and working-class people if elected.
She spoke about her enthusiasm a few hours before the polls closed on Tuesday, saying “it would be a very big deal to beat the machine.”
“This campaign has been an incredible journey. We started out as underdogs, but our message of change resonated across the city. And today we have the chance to make history,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “The energy and enthusiasm across the city has been incredible today.”
Lightfoot has also vowed to bring change from the political status quo and end corruption in the city.
“What we have heard from people is that they are really, really sick and tired of the same old, same old and want to break away from the past and I think that they view me as a change candidate, so I’m excited about that,” Lightfoot told reporters outside of the polling station in the 35th Ward where she lives. “This has been the most wondrous journey of my life. There’s no question about it. You try to plot the course.”