Lightfoot to Be First Alumna as Mayor; Hairston in Closest Race of Her Tenure | Newsletter for April 4

Lightfoot sweeped the mayoral runoff with 74 percent of the vote; Long-time incumbent Hairston is neck and neck with first-time challenger Calloway


Lightfoot celebrating at her campaign party in South Loop.

By Deepti Sailappan and Elaine Chen

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Good morning. It’s first week.

Results from history-making runoff elections:

In the mayoral race, Lori Lightfoot (J.D. ’89) beat Toni Preckwinkle (A.B. ’69, A.M. ’77) with a sweeping 74 percent of the vote.

  • Lightfoot will be the first UChicago alum and Black woman to be mayor of Chicago, as well as the first openly gay person.
  • Originally seen as a long shot, Lightfoot increasingly drew traction shortly as the February general elections approached, appealing to her status as an outsider unbound by the complex relationships of Chicago politics.

In the city treasurer race, State Representative for the 10th District Melissa Conyears-Ervin beat Ameya Pawar (S.M. ’09, A.M. ’16) by nearly 20 percentage points.

  • This was Chicago’s first contested race for treasurer since 1999.
  • Conyears-Ervin’s platform emphasized auditing city agencies like Chicago Public Schools, centralizing financial records online, and moving some municipal government departments such as the Office of Financial Analysis under the treasurer’s jurisdiction.

In the Fifth Ward race, challenger William Calloway and incumbent Leslie Hairston were neck and neck, and as of 11 p.m. of Tuesday night, the results were too close to call.

  • This was Hairston’s first runoff and her closest race since she was elected in 1999.
  • Calloway said of the narrow difference in votes, “We got everything from the grass roots; she got everything from developers.”

In the 20th Ward race, community organizer Jeanette Taylor won the race against nonprofit worker and former elementary school teacher Nicole Johnson by nearly 20 percentage points.

  • The race was high-stakes: Incumbent alderman Willie Cochran recently resigned after pleading guilty to a corruption charge.
  • Taylor had received heavy union backing, including a $60,000 donation from the Chicago Teachers’ Union, as well as the endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America.

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On campus:

The president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, stopped by I-House on Monday as part of a longer visit to Chicago in which he also met with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

  • In his talk on campus, Akufo-Addo addressed visa restrictions and sanctions the United States government placed upon Ghanaian nationals in February, and called for a new dynamic in the countries’ relationship.
  • He also discussed the recent investment in Ghanaian development by Chinese state-owned company Sinohydro, which some have cited as evidence of a Chinese colonization effort. “We are all much wiser about these things [now], and we are going to go into these new relations with our eyes wide open,” Akufo-Addo said.

Grey City

Editor Caroline Kubzansky writes in:

Ahead of runoffs, Grey City writer Alex Dalton asked the two candidates in the 20th ward how they planned to avoid the corruption scandals that have dogged many of their predecessors.

In Sports

Editors Alison Gill and Brinda Rao write in:

Editors Alison Gill and Brinda Rao discuss how the Maroons represented UChicago across the globe during their annual spring training trips.