Chicago’s mayoral election headed for a run off between two African-American women after Bill Daley, member of a political dynasty that has dominated Chicago politics for decades, conceded that he had failed to secure enough votes.
Fourteen candidates competed in Tuesday’s crowded poll, but none secured 50 per cent of the vote, so the top two candidates move on to a run-off election on April 2.
The frontrunner late on election night was Lori Lightfoot, a 56-year-old former federal prosecutor who would will make history as Chicago’s first openly lesbian black mayor if she wins.
Ms Lightfoot served as president of the Chicago Police Board and the city’s Police Accountability Task Force, and she promised to tackle police misconduct and corruption in city hall.
The runner-up in Tuesday night’s poll, with thousands of postal votes yet to be counted, was Toni Preckwinkle, 71, another African-American woman who is president of the board of Cook County, where Chicago is located.
Mr Daley, son of former mayor Richard J Daley and brother of former mayor Richard M Daley, conceded defeat on Tuesday night, putting an end to his ambitions to extend a political dynasty that has held the mayorship of America’s third largest city for 43 of the last 63 years. M Daley was US Commerce Secretary under President Bill Clinton and chief of staff under President Barack Obama.
“I’m here tonight with an outcome none of us had wanted. But because we respect the Democratic process, we all must accept it, and we all will move on,” he told supporters
A confusingly large field of candidates chose to compete for the mayoral post after Rahm Emanuel made the surprise decision last September not to run for a third term in office. The race included an unprecedented four women of colour.
Mayor Emanuel decided not to run after his standing in the city’s African-American community began to slip following the release of a police video showing a white police officer firing 16 shots Laquan McDonald, a black teenager, in 2014.
The city has struggled in recent years with a surge in gun violence, with homicides in 2016 at levels not seen for two decades.
Billions of dollars in unmet pension obligations, endemic corruption and persistent gun violence were the main issues for voters going to the polls on a frigid winter day in Chicago.