CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s a sprint — not a jog — to Chicago’s runoff election for mayor. There are just 34 days before voters cast their ballots again.
Mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot is making history in two ways: she’s one of the two first African-American women ever to make a runoff election for mayor in Chicago, and the first LGBTQ+ candidate for mayor.
“It was an incredibly exciting time,” Lightfoot said. “Exciting, exhilarating time and it’s humbling.”
Equality Illinois’ CEO isn’t surprised.
“What we have seen in our work is the amount of support for LGBTQ equality in this city is incredibly strong,” said CEO Brian Johnson.
Lightfoot embraces the significance.
“I hope that my candidacy is a real beacon for young people who are going through their own coming out story,” she said.
But she doesn’t think her sexuality will define or overshadow her platform.
“I think people want change,” she said. “They want a fresh perspective.”
Of course, winning takes votes, specifically votes Lightfoot didn’t get Tuesday; and, as some analysts believe, the African-American ward votes that went to Willie Wilson, who’s not shy about proclaiming his influence.
“Whoever I endorse will be the next mayor of the city of Chicago,” he said.
“I would say we still have to build a citywide coalition,” Lightfoot said. “We still have to get people who stayed home Tuesday or early voting to come out.”
Many of Wilson’s supporters, though, are also conservative, as are some of the city’s black churches, which may take issue with Lightfoot’s homosexuality.
“I was raised in the church,” she said. “My parents were God fearing people who spent a huge amount of their time in service to the Lord and in church services. And the reception I’ve received in the black churches in particular that I’ve been to have been overwhelmingly positive.”
But Lightfoot says she understands there will be people who won’t welcome an out lesbian with a wife and a child, and therefore won’t vote for her.
She says her focus won’t be on them but on improving the city.