Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was the darling of the national media, the Obamas and the Democrat Party. She ticked all the right boxes for the left and was heralded as the first Black, lesbian mayor of a major American city. Now she’s out of a job after a broad coalition of voters rejected her progressive policies which they said caused the city’s high crime and loss of businesses.
In what observers are calling a humiliating defeat, Lightfoot came in third on Tuesday with just 17% of the vote. Paul Vallas, former Chicago Public Schools CEO, was the top vote-getter with 34% and progressive Brandon Johnson, Cook County Commissioner, was at 20% The New York Times reported.
Lightfoot is now the first elected Chicago mayor to lose a reelection bid since 1983, when Jane Byrne, the city’s first female mayor, lost her Democratic primary.
As a then-outsider to politics, Lightfoot ran for mayor in 2019 promising to end government corruption, and won, becoming the first black Chicago mayor in the city’s history. But the ethics of her reelection campaign came into question when it was found that the campaign attempted to recruit students at Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges in exchange for school credit. She later apologized, saying it was a “bad mistake” made by a young staffer in her campaign, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Skyrocketing crime under Lightfoot
Lightfoot’s four-year term was plagued by a long strike by the teachers union, clashes with the police union, and soaring violent homicide rates in a city with some of the most stringent gun restrictions in the nation.
Under Lightfoot’s tenure, which opponents say championed criminals instead of victims, murder rose 59%, robbery was up 27%, theft up 31% and motor vehicle theft an astounding 270%.
At his victory party, Vallas, who also supports school choice, said he would work to address public safety issues.
“We will have a safe Chicago. We will make Chicago the safest city in America,” Vallas said.
Vallas served as an adviser to the Fraternal Order of Police during its negotiations with Lightfoot’s administration. He has called for adding hundreds of police officers to patrol the city, saying crime is out of control and morale among officers sunk to a new low during Lightfoot’s tenure.
A runoff will be held on April 4 between Vallas and Johnson.
–Dwight Widamam and wire services