Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who became the first Black woman and the first openly gay person ever to serve as mayor of Chicago, has lost her re-election bid, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The election marks the first time in 30 years that the city of Chicago will not have a mayor to serve two terms.
With 17.06% of the vote, Lightfoot trailed behind Paul Vallas, a former Chicago Public Schools CEO who won 33.77 %, and Brad Johnson, a Cook County Commissioner and Chicago Teachers Union organizer, who received 20.29%.
In her concession speech, Lightfoot thanked her supporters for their tireless work on her campaign and for rallying behind her in her first term as mayor.
“Obviously, we didn’t win the election. But I stand here with my head held high and my heart full of thanks,” Lightfoot said to her supporters. “You will not be defined by how you fall. You will be defined by how hard you work and how much you do for other people.”
After the election results, Lightfoot said she would be “rooting and praying for the next mayor of Chicago.”
Several significant issues that derailed Lightfoot’s re-election effort included the city’s slow recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; constant battles with the teachers union and the police union; and the rise of crime in the city.
“Public safety is the fundamental right of every American. It is a civil right, and it is the principle responsibility of the government,” said Vallas who ran on a platform of being tough on crime. “We will have a safe Chicago. We will make Chicago the safest city in America,”
“It will not only come from providing the police with the resources and the support that they need but from building the bond between the police department and the community so we have true community policing,” he continued. “I will also ... have zero tolerance when it comes to violating the law or violating the Constitution. And this is coming from a family of four police officers, including my wife.”
Johnson spoke about his vision for the city as he addressed his supporters after his victory.
“Well Chicago, we did it y’all. They said that this would never happen. I am so freakin’ proud because we did this. A few months ago, they said they didn’t know who I was. Well, if you didn’t know, now you know. ... We have shifted the political dynamics in this city,” said Johnson.
“Tonight is about building a Chicago that truly invests in our people. The most radical thing we can do as a city is to love the people of Chicago,” he added. “Loving people and investing in people—that is the way my father raised me. The finances of this city belong to the people of the city. So, we’re gonna invest in the people of the city.”
In a crowded primary field of nine candidates, Vallas and Johnson are the last two standing for a shot to be the executive leader at City Hall.
Only time will tell if Valla’s pro-police, more conservative message or Johnson’s progressive ideals will resonate with the citizens of Chicago.
Because neither candidate reached the threshold of 50% of the vote, a runoff between Vallas and Johnson is scheduled for April 4.