Lightfoot Margin Impressive, But Not Unprecedented

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Lori LIghtfoot

Lori Lightfoot came out victorious in the April 2 runoff election by a large margin and will become Chicago’s 50th mayor, but this landslide win over Toni Preckwinkle is not unprecedented for Chicago mayoral elections.

Richard M. Daley, Chicago’s mayor from 1989-2011, won each election he ran in by 70% or greater in all but two elections, according to Ballotpedia. In the 1989 election which began his tenure, Daley won 55.4% of the votes in the general election, defeating Timothy Evans in a race that saw a 68% voter turnout; in 1995 Daley defeated Roland Burris, winning 60.1% of the votes in the general election with 42% voter turnout.

Similarly, Daley’s father, Richard J. Daley, won his last election in 1975, defeating John Hoellen, with 77.7% of the votes with 47% voter turnout. Lightfoot won 73.6% of the votes with 31.87% voter turnout in the runoff election, according to the Chicago Board of Elections.

In Rogers Park and Edgewater, Lightfoot received 63.51% and 70.3% of the votes, respectively. Lightfoot also won every precinct in the 48th and 49th Wards, and Preckwinkle received greater than 40% of the votes in six of 40 precincts in Rogers Park.

These trends suggest low voter turnout could be correlated to a higher winning margin between the victor and their component in Chicago mayoral elections. Lightfoot will become Chicago’s first African American, openly gay female mayor May 20.

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