CHICAGO (CBS) — Following her sweeping election victory, Mayor-Elect Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday said she’s excited to get to work with both her former rival, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and a City Council that will have several new faces next month.
“We wanted, and we now have a broad mandate for change,” Lightfoot said as she greeted and thanked voters Wednesday morning in the Loop.
Lightfoot crushed Preckwinkle in the race for mayor, winning all 50 wards, and getting nearly 74 percent of the vote, margins not seen since Richard M. Daley won his fifth term in office in 2003. Lightfoot said she expected to win, but not by that much.
“We felt very comfortable that we would have a nice margin, based upon our internal polling and what we were hearing from other people across the city, but to sweep all 50 wards with that kind of a margin obviously is historic; and it’s very, very gratifying,” she said.
At least six incumbent aldermen lost bids for re-election, either in the first round of voting in February or in Tuesday’s runoffs, and three others are in danger of losing seats in runoffs that were still too close to call as of Wednesday morning.
Lightfoot, who criticized Preckwinkle as a career politician, and ran on a platform of reform, said she thinks the election results send a message that voters want major change at City Hall when she and the new City Council are sworn in May 20.
“I think what it signals is people across the city wanted a break from that broken political past, and I’m excited about the prospects,” she said.
While she won the mayor’s race in blowout fashion, Lightfoot signaled she has no intention of using her popularity to treat the City Council as a rubber stamp.
“Nobody is well-served by a rubber stamp City Council. We have a lot of new faces that are going to be on the rise, and I’m looking forward to meeting them and working with them. But we need them to stand up and represent their constituents, and do the work that they’ve been elected to do. It’s not 50 little fiefdoms, they are united and they should be united in serving all of Chicago,” she said.
While Lightfoot said she hasn’t received a congratulatory call from Mayor Rahm Emanuel yet, she said she was hoping to meet with him on Wednesday. She’s also scheduled to hold a unity event with Preckwinkle at Rainbow/PUSH Coalition headquarters.