Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot failed to secure a top-two runoff in Tuesday’s municipal election, effectively losing her bid for a second term. Concerns about crime in the city, which has seen a surge in violent crime during Lightfoot’s administration, played a significant role in her defeat. Long-time public schools chief Paul Vallas, who ran on a tough-on-crime platform, and Cook County commissioner Brandon Johnson, backed by progressives and the Chicago Teachers Union, will advance to the April runoff. Growing Crime Concerns Predicted to Lead to Defeat for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in Upcoming Re-election Bid.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in Upcoming Re-election Bid
Lightfoot’s contentious relationship with police and teachers’ unions also contributed to her defeat. This marks the first time in over 30 years that Chicago has not re-elected its mayor. In a concession speech, Lightfoot expressed her support for the next mayor of Chicago.
Vallas celebrated his victory with a pro-police and tough-on-crime message, vowing to make Chicago the safest city in America. The election result highlights the urgent need for solutions to address the city’s ongoing issues with crime and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The next mayor of Chicago will face significant challenges in restoring safety and prosperity to one of the nation’s largest cities.
The mayoral race in Chicago is heading into a runoff between long-time public schools chief Paul Vallas, who campaigned on a pro-police, tough-on-crime message, and Cook County commissioner Brandon Johnson, who has progressive backing and support from the Chicago Teachers Union. Vallas’ conservative platform will face a significant challenge in a city where nearly 83% of votes in the 2020 presidential race went to the Democratic ticket.
Johnson, in his speech on Tuesday night, emphasized his desire to consolidate liberal support from voters who backed other candidates in the nine-person race. He cited each candidate by name and promised to represent all of them. The runoff election is set for April 4, and neither candidate is currently on course to secure over 50% of the votes.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot conceded defeat after failing to make it to the top two in Tuesday’s municipal election. Lightfoot was the first Black woman and the first out gay person to serve as the mayor of Chicago, and she rose to prominence as a reformer promising to break from the corruption and clubby governance that had long marked Chicago politics. However, years of contentious battles over policing, teacher pay, and Covid-19 policies, as well as mounting complaints about long wait times in public transit, left Lightfoot vulnerable. This has led to the stunning prospect of the incumbent mayor being ousted in the first round of voting.
The election result underscores the urgent need to address Chicago’s ongoing issues with crime and public safety, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic. The next mayor of Chicago will face significant challenges in restoring safety and prosperity to one of the nation’s largest cities.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot faced opposition from powerful interests in her bid for re-election, including the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, which endorsed her opponent, Paul Vallas, and the Chicago Teachers Union, which backed Brandon Johnson. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, with whom Lightfoot had clashed, did not get involved in the race.
Concerns about crime and public safety have been significant issues in the election. Violence in Chicago increased in 2020 and 2021, although shootings and murders have since decreased. However, other crimes, including theft, carjacking, robberies, and burglaries, have increased since last year, according to the Chicago Police Department’s 2022 year-end report.
This dynamic has been observed in other big-city mayoral elections in recent years, including in New York City, where Mayor Eric Adams won with a pro-police, tough-on-crime message in 2021. In contrast, Los Angeles voters elected Rep. Karen Bass last year over billionaire developer Rick Caruso, who had focused on a law and order campaign.
Over 507,000 ballots were cast in Chicago by the time polls closed on Tuesday, according to election officials, with more mail-in votes to be added to that total as they arrive.
The election result underscores the need for effective solutions to address Chicago’s ongoing issues with crime and public safety. The new mayor will need to work to restore safety and prosperity to the city, which is one of the largest in the United States.
Chicago’s municipal elections are non-partisan, but none of the candidates on Tuesday’s ballot identified themselves as Republicans. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tried to portray Paul Vallas, who attacked her record on crime and was endorsed by the conservative police union, as a Republican. Brandon Johnson, who was backed by progressives and the Chicago Teachers Union, chipped away at Lightfoot’s support among progressives. Johnson previously advocated reducing police funding but has since backtracked, stating that he wants to increase funding for other priorities such as mental health treatment.
Lightfoot struggled to find allies in her bid for a second term, and concerns about crime and public safety played a major role in the election. No candidate was on course to receive over 50% of the vote, so the top two, Vallas and Johnson, will advance to the April 4 runoff. An elected Chicago mayor has not lost in more than 30 years.