The future of the Democratic Party in the U.S. is playing out between grassroots progressives and establishment moderate centrists in the country’s largest cities, New York City and Chicago. On Tuesday, February 16, hundreds of thousands of voters across New York went to the polls to vote for the city’s next Public Advocate for replacing Letitia James who is now the state’s Attorney General. That same day, hundreds of thousands of voters in citywide Chicago voted for their next city councilmembers as well as next mayor to replace outgoing mayor Rahm Emanuel, who decided not to run for reelction.
In New York, former city council member Jumaane Williams was elected as the next city Public Advocate. Williams, who ran for Lieutenant Governor with actress Cynthia Nixon in 2018 and supported Bernie Sanders in 2016, will become the second Black African-American to be elected to this position. Willaims’ endorsements during the special election included Cynthia Nixon, former congressional and attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout, the Working Families Party, and New York state senator Julia Salazar.
Meanwhile in Chicago, non-white progressive and socialist candidates of color are making gains for the upcoming local elections in November. For mayor, former President of the Chicago Police Board Lori Lightfoot and President of the Cook County Board Toni Preckwinkle advanced in the runoff. If one of them is elected, Chicago is going to have its first Black woman mayor in its history. In the city council races citywide, Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) candidates Daniel La Spata and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa won their council seats while other candidates such as Byron Sigcho-Lopez and Andre Vazquez will compete in April runoffs.
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