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April 3, 2019 at 12:56 pm PDT | by Chris Johnson
Lightfoot becomes first out lesbian, black woman elected Chicago mayor

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot (Photo courtesy of the Lightfoot Campaign)

The run-off election Tuesday night in Chicago resulted in a historic victory for Lori Lightfoot, who became the first openly lesbian and black woman elected mayor of the city.

The Associated Press called the race for Lightfoot, who was running against Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, at 8 p.m. local time.

According to early results, Lightfoot claimed 74.2 percent of the vote compared to the 25.8 percent won by Preckwinkle.

Lightfoot’s victory will make Chicago the largest city in the United States with an openly gay mayor. Previously, that distinction was held by Houston, where Annise Parker served as mayor from 2010 to 2016.

Parker, who’s now executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, was on the ground in Chicago and commended Lightfoot in a statement.

“A Black lesbian taking power in the nation’s third-largest city is a historic moment for so many communities that are too often ignored in American politics,” Parker said. “Chicago’s enormous influence on the national dialogue provides a platform for Lori to promote more inclusive solutions to the challenges facing our cities and nation – and to be a credible messenger as well. Lori will certainly remain focused on the issues facing Chicago. But as the highest-ranking LGBTQ person ever elected mayor of an American city – a title she takes from me – she is also now a key leader in the movement to build LGBTQ political power nationwide.”

Also commending Lightfoot was Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, who said her victory extends the treads of milestone victories after the 2018 election.

“As the first openly LGBTQ woman of color to be elected mayor in any of America’s 100 largest cities and the first black woman to serve as mayor of Chicago, Lightfoot is an inspiration to thousands of LGBTQ people of color who have a new role model in elected office,” Perez said.

Two other lesbian candidates — Satya Rhodes-Conway in Madison, Wisconsin, and Jolie Justus in Kansas City — were running for the offices of mayor elsewhere in the country. Both won their races. Justus will now face Quinton Lucas in the June general election. Rhodes-Conway ousted longtime Mayor Paul Soglin in another landslide to become Madison’s first openly gay mayor.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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