On Tuesday night, former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot won Chicago’s run-off election, becoming the city’s first openly gay black female mayor. She beat out Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in a landslide, and ran on a broadly progressive platform, though she faced opposition from some grassroots activists who questioned Lightfoot’s commitment to police reform.
At the city council level, a wave of democratic socialists and progressive candidates surged to victory. While it’s unclear whether Lightfoot will rush to follow through on her ambitious campaign promises of cleaning up city government and enacting reform, the new incoming class of aldermen are slated to push forward on a host of progressive priorities, from ending corporate subsidies to working to enact rent control.
Outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision in September 2018 not to seek a third term didn’t just inspire a diverse pool of candidates to run to replace him, it also empowered a swath of challenges to Emanuel-allied incumbent aldermen. Despite record low turnout, at least five aldermanic candidates backed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) were elected this year, and another holds the lead, though the race is still too close to call. Following the 15 run-off races, democratic socialists will now make up at least 10 percent of the city council.