Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her bid for re-election Tuesday, sending leading challenger Paul Vallas and second-place candidate Brandon Johnson to an April 4 runoff contest, The Associated Press reported.
Fellow candidates criticized Lightfoot in light of Chicago’s rampant crime problem, with polled likely voters citing crime and public safety as the mayoral election’s foremost issue after the city recorded more major crime complaints in 2022 than during 2019, the year she took office, according to Chicago Police Department (CPD) data. Vallas, who previously served as CEO Chicago Public schools and later the Philadelphia School District, won the Chicago Fraternal of Police’s endorsement, pledging to fire CPD Superintendent David Brown and grow the department’s sworn officer staff back to the level it reached when Vallas was Chicago’s city budget director in the mid-1990s.
Lightfoot told supporters Tuesday night that she had called to congratulate Vallas and Johnson, the AP reported. The Chicago Teachers Union endorsed Johnson after expressing support for police defunding, and Lightfoot had claimed Saturday that he “wants to cut your police,” according to Politico.
Lightfoot declared prior to Election Day Tuesday that only she could beat Vallas. He ran against her for mayor in 2019 but failed to reach that year’s runoff election, with Lightfoot eventually defeating Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle by more than 45% in the contest.
Lightfoot accused Vallas of a “pathetic attempt to hide his MAGA Republican ways” in early February after the Chicago Tribune reported his Twitter account had liked a series of tweets that used racist language, backed police tactics like “stop and frisk” and personally insulted Lightfoot. Vallas claimed to have been “shocked” upon learning of the account’s activity “because this kind of abhorrent and vile rhetoric does not represent me or my views” and said he did not personally manage the account, according to the outlet.
Vallas said in a 2009 interview that he was “more of a Republican than a Democrat now,” which Lightfoot pointed out, but recently called himself a “lifelong Democrat,” Politico reported.
Content created by Trevor Schakohl
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