Lightfoot cracks the Chicago machine



February 28, 2019 - 11:12 AM

Mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot and her daughter Vivian Lightfoot appear with supporters Tuesday night in Chicago. Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune/TNS

No one could have predicted when Lori Lightfoot announced her plans to run for mayor in May 2018 she would emerge as a front-runner on election night. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle? Probably. William “Bill” Daley? Likely. Susana Mendoza? Maybe. Willie Wilson? Possibly.

Instead, the corruption-busting, anti-machine candidate who got on television late, who ran a shoestring campaign, who got in front of as many voters as possible — the outsider who ran against the Chicago political establishment — beat it on Tuesday. Now she faces Preckwinkle, the runner-up, in the April 2 runoff election. Lightfoot won with 17.5 percent of the vote to Preckwinkle’s 16.1 percent. Which candidate will shore up the rest of Chicago?

Lightfoot didn’t have heavy union backing. She didn’t have corporate support. She didn’t follow a rose garden strategy. She didn’t have high-priced consultants or media production teams or experienced campaign staffers.

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