As a result of the city’s increasing violence, Chicago Democrat Lori Lightfoot lost her bid for reelection on Tuesday, becoming the Windy City’s first incumbent mayor to do so in 40 years.
In the election held on Tuesday, former Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson came in front of Lightfoot, 60, who received only 16.4% of the support.
To decide who will serve as the city’s next mayor, a runoff election will be held on April 4 between Vallas, who received 35% of the vote, and Johnson, who received 20.2%.
In her victory speech, Lightfoot stated, “I will be rooting and praying for our next mayor.”
She referred to being mayor of Chicago as “the honor of a lifetime.”
Lightfoot’s chances looked grim going into the election on Tuesday since she was in last place in a number of polls that showed voters in the third-largest city in America were most concerned about crime and public safety.
One recent poll found that in the days preceding Tuesday’s election, Vallas’ lead over Lightfoot had been growing.
Lightfoot has been under fire for the rampant crime that has plagued Chicago during her leadership, as well as for bringing race into the election and claiming that anyone who disagrees with her should not vote.
Beneath Lightfoot, the murder rate in Chicago reached 695 by the end of 2022 and 804 in 2021, a level not seen in the Windy City in 25 years.
Before the election, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot received criticism for using the gender and racial card.
Also, the city had over 20,000 theft cases in 2022, which is nearly twice as many as theft incidents in 2021, according to the year-end report from the Chicago Police Department.
According to Chicago police, crime rates in the city have surged by 61% in the first three weeks of 2023 compared to last year.
Lightfoot claimed on Saturday in the New Yorker that those who have criticized her four years in office simply dislike the idea of “a black woman” in a position of authority.
“Certain folks, frankly, don’t support us in leadership roles.”
The mayor is Chicago’s first openly lesbian and black female mayor.
She referred to the Democrat who won office in 1983 and said, “The same forces that didn’t want Harold Washington to succeed, they’re still here. The last time we had an African American mayor in power was 40 years ago. It’s important for us not to repeat history.”
Despite the fact that eight out of the nine candidates running for mayor on Tuesday are people of color, Lightfoot made the statement.
Lightfoot first advised South Side Chicago people to abstain from voting if they failed to vote to re-elect her, but she later stated that she made a mistake.
Voting for “somebody not named Lightfoot is a vote for Chuy Garcia or Paul Vallas,” the mayor alleged, referring to her rivals.
Lightfoot continued, “If you want them controlling your fate and your destiny, then stay home. Then don’t vote.”
Afterwards, she informed reporters that she had not intended to recommend that people skip the election.
The candidate who garnered the greatest number of votes on Tuesday, Vallas, was supported by the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago. While campaigning, he lamented the “utter breakdown of law and order” in the city under Lightfoot.
Vallas, 69, urged that Chicago’s out-of-control crime be combated by hiring hundreds more police officers.
Vallas, the only white contender in the race, has come under fire from Lightfoot for being too conservative for Chicago and for employing “the ultimate dog whistle” and declaring that his campaign is about “taking back our city.”
Johnson, who will face Vallas in April, won the Chicago Teachers Union’s prized endorsement in addition to the backing of a number of other progressive groups, including United Working Families.
Earlier this month, Lightfoot attacked Johnson during a debate, frequently asserting that his strategy for reducing crime would make Chicago unsafe.
“If he’s not willing to commit to not de-funding the police, he’s going to have less officers on the street, and our communities are going to be less safe,” according to Lightfoot.