Women of Color Top Chicago’s Mayor’s Race
Chicago voters head to the polls today to choose between 14 candidates for the next Mayor of Chicago. If no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, the top two finishers will head to a runoff in April. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is perceived as the front-runner. She brings nearly two decades of experience as a Hyde Park Alderman, and is the first woman and African American to head the Cook County Democratic Party. Periwinkle is tied with Lori Lightfoot, an early entrant in the race, who is a former federal prosecutor and President of the Chicago Police Board. She wants to be the first openly LGBTQ Mayor in Chicago history. Susana Mendoza is polling at 10%. The daughter of Mexican immigrants is the State Comptroller, a former City Clerk, and was the Co-Chair of incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2015 re-election campaign. She could benefit from the growing Latinx population. It is not only increasing in number -- it just passed the Black population percentage-wise -- but it is also gaining political influence as more become citizens and reach voting age. African American voters comprise roughly a third of Chicago’s electorate -- which could be a problem for the Black candidates. There are more viable and accomplished Black mayoral candidates to choose from this time around than ever before. Hence, the Black vote could get sliced and diced by demographics, political inclinations, and style. Which brings us to Amara Enyia, a community activist and Director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Despite low poll numbers, she is backed by Chance the Rapper and a diverse swath of millennials who are excited about her idealistic message. There’s also Illinois State Rep. La Shawn Ford who represents the 8th Legislative District since 2006. He’s polling at just 1% but Chicago West Siders have frequently felt like stepchildren to South Siders in the Black power structure -- they may show up for Ford to help turn that tide. Wealthy businessman Willie Wilson is mounting his second mayoral run -- he audaciously ran for president in 2016. So far he has spent $1.5 million of his own money on the race and is polling at 9%. Bill Daley, whose brother and father both previously served as Mayor, is also polling at 14%. Over the weekend, he dropped by Sunday services at one of the city’s largest African American congregations with Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL). We’ll have the results tomorrow. More here.