Chicago's Mayoral Contest Even Rarer Than You Think: Expert

Craig Dellimore
February 27, 2019 - 6:53 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A local political expert suggests Chicago’s mayoral election is turning into a historic event on a national scale.

Elmhurst College political science professor Constance Mixon says the fact that both Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot are African-American women means history will be made April 2 for Chicago.

Chicago’s already had one female mayor, but people may not realize how unusual the gender factor is.

Mixon notes Los Angeles had one female mayor in the early 1800s, and New York City has never had a woman as mayor.

"It's pretty significant that Chicago, which we wouldn't necessarily think of as being as progressive as maybe New York City or Los Angeles, is now in a position to have its second female mayor and its second African-American mayor," she said.

People shouldn’t get too excited about gender milestones, Mixon said, considering there are only 14 women across the 50-member Chicago City Council. Even with runoffs in the wards, it’s unlikely the number will grow, she said.

The runoff election between Lightfoot and Preckwinkle is April 2. They emerged Tuesday as the top two vote-getters from a field of 14 hopefuls.