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Chicago Mayor Election: Lori Lightfoot, Toni Preckwinkle Emerge In Record Field, Set For Historic April Runoff

CHICAGO (CBS) --Two African American women, Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle, emerged from a crowded field in the election for Chicago Mayor and are now poised to face each other in a historic runoff to determine the successor to Rahm Emanuel.

The odd man out was Bill Daley, the top spender with the biggest name in Chicago politics.

Lightfoot and Preckwinkle emerged from a record total of 14 candidates who were on the ballot. Emanuel decided not to seek a third term. They will face off on April 2, in a runoff election, because no candidate reached a majority this time.

Lightfoot, declaring she will be in the runoff, thanked her supporters for having the "courage to stand with our campaign against the machine. "

"It is true, that not every day that a little black girl from a low income family in a segregated steel town makes the runoff to be the next mayor of the City of Chicago," Lightfoot said.

"This my friends is what change looks like."

Preckwinkle, who finished about 7,000 votes behind Lightfoot, spoke to reporters shortly after 10 p.m.

"Our fight is far from over and there is a lot more work to do," she said. "We have taken clear stands and made real plans to make sure our city finally works for all of us."

She said she was running for her grandchilden, so that they have real educational opportunities and "are safe and happy."

"This is our moment."

Daley, who was running in third place, conceded the race at 9:38 p.m.

"I congratulate Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle for their victories."

The results now set off a scramble to gain support from the other 12 candidates in the field. And, CBS 2 Chicago Political Reporter Derrick Blakley says the race matches an insider, Preckwinkle, against an outsider, Lightfoot.

The questions, according to Blakley, are: which candidate will get the backing of big donors? Who will progressives back? And will the African American community get behind one candidate?

Preckwinkle, the Cook County board president, enjoys strong union support. Lightfoot, who has made a career as a reformer, chaired the task force that proposed reforms at the Chicago Police Department.

According to preliminary numbers, Chicago on pace for a record-low turnout of about 30 percent, the worst municipal election turnout since 2007, when the city set a record low of 33 percent turnout.

However, in 2007, Mayor Richard M. Daley was running for his sixth term in office, and facing two challengers who managed less than 30 percent of the vote combined.

This year, there was no incumbent on the ballot for only the fourth time in the last century in Chicago

The candidates raised millions in just the final weeks alone, with the understanding the few votes could separate the front-runners from the also-rans.

Bill Daley collected close to $3 million just within the last two weeks, with $2 million of that donated by Illinois' richest man, billionaire Ken Griffin.

Daley was followed by Gery Chico at $387,000. Toni Preckwinkle with $362,000. Susana Mendoza $222,000 and Lori Lightfoot with $190,000.

Daley and Preckwinkle had been perceived as the two front-runners.

On Monday, Preckwinkle worked the phones for votes. And Daley stopped by popular black-owned, Lincoln Park restaurant. But la new independent poll showed Lightfoot's campaign moving up.

The surprising survey, taken over the weekend, showed Preckwinkle, Daley and Lightfoot tied at 14 percent.

"I think our message of change and independence and someone who's not tied to the broken political machine is resonating with people all over the city," Lightfoot said.

And close behind, in a second tier, Mendoza at 10 percent, with Gery Chico and Willie Wilson each at nine percent. Chico greeted voters Monday near the Central Loop early voting center.

Daley was perhaps damaged by critical TV ads funded by the construction equipment operators union. In response, Daley spent heavily to answer those ads.



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