Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her reelection bid on Tuesday night as two other candidates—Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson—advanced to a runoff, a result which comes after the incumbent mayor faced criticism for her handling of rising crime in the city and the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lightfoot finished in third place with 17.1% of the vote while none of the other candidates were able to secure more than 50% of the vote needed for an outright victory.
Paul Vallas a former public schools executive who has the backing of the city’s police union finished with 33.8% and advanced to a runoff election on April 4.
Cook County commissioner Brandon Johnson, whose candidacy is supported by the Chicago Teachers Union, also progressed to the runoff with 20.3% of the votes.
Lightfoot is the city’s first mayor to lose a reelection bid since 1983 when incumbent Jane Byrne lost the Democratic primary.
Lightfoot conceded defeat in an address to her supporters saying: “I’ve called Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas to congratulate them on their victories in advancing. We were fierce competitors in these last few months but I will be rooting and praying for our next mayor to deliver for the people for years to come.”
Lightfoot created history in 2019 after becoming the first Black woman and the first openly gay person to become the mayor of America’s third-largest city. Lightfoot’s term, however, was marred by the Covid-19 pandemic and a subsequent surge in crime across the city. Her opponents also attacked her for being a divisive leader due to her public feuds with the city’s police and teachers’ unions. Vallas, a conservative candidate, has positioned himself as a tough-on-crime candidate who had promised to unwind rules that he claims limit the city’s police from doing their jobs. The more progressive Brandon Johnson, who ran a campaign to the left of Lightfoot, has promised a different approach that includes pouring investment into mental health support, education, housing and jobs.
Chicago Mayor Lightfoot ousted; Vallas, Johnson in runoff (Associated Press)
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