Lightfoot, Preckwinkle went head-to-head in first televised debate since Election Day

CHICAGO — Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle faced-off Thursday evening in their first televised debate since the two won the most votes on Election Day.

The debate, which aired on NBC 5, was the first forum since the field of candidates was whittled down from 14 to two, and it did not take long before insults started flying.

From the beginning of the hour long televised forum, Lightfoot was forcefully defending her background as Preckwinkle criticized Lightfoot’s work as a law firm partner. Lightfoot also took aim at Preckwinkle’s ties to the political machine, and both battled over who had the most progressive credentials. The candidates were asked about issues from education to violence and policing and housing and they gave few details on how they would address the city’s pressing pension problem.

One thing was clear: The gloves were off — a sign of what could be ahead in the next few weeks as the candidates race to the runoff.

Earlier Thursday, Lightfoot put out a new political ad and this time, it highlighted Preckwinkle’s ties to embattled Ald. Ed Burke, and touched on the sweetened beverage tax.

Lightfoot picked up the endorsement Thursday of Chicago's Firefighters Union as she works to build support on the northwest and southwest sides. Those areas have high concentrations of city workers who consistently turn out to vote.

“An entrenched political insider won’t lead Chicago forward. It’s time to bring in the light,” the ad says.

Lightfoot picked up the endorsement Thursday of Chicago’s Firefighters Union as she works to build support on the northwest and southwest sides. Those areas have with high concentrations of city workers who consistently turn out to vote.

"Her opponent is a very nice woman, and she's done some good things , but we feel like Lori is the person who's going to bring Local 2, and the city of Chicago forward," Jim Tracy, Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2, said.

Preckwinkle hit back after the ad with a statement that said in part, "For a candidate who brands herself as a progressive, Lightfoot continues to endear herself to some of the city’s most conservative Republican officials."

“If people who are looking for somebody who has implemented change, that’s me,” Preckwinkle said at a previous press conference.

“She’s amalgamating all this power and she wants more,” Lightfoot said. “So, sorry. She is the embodiment of the broken, corrupt political machine. If she takes offense, sorry. The facts are the facts.”

The candidates are also vying for the endorsement of Willie Wilson, who won the majority of the city's black wards in the first round. He is expected to announce who he's supporting on Friday.

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