Lori Lightfoot Loses Chicago Mayor Reelection Bid, April 4 Runoff Election Set

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot failed to secure a second term in office on Tuesday, becoming the first incumbent mayor in more than three decades to lose a re-election bid.[0] Lightfoot received 18.7% of the votes, trailing Paul Vallas, the former Chicago schools executive with 32.1%, and Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner, who secured 20.2%.

Lightfoot was the first Black woman and first out gay person to hold the office of mayor in Chicago.[1] During her tenure, she was embroiled in numerous disputes with the Chicago City Council and labor organizations such as the CTU and FOP.[2]

The race was a referendum on her handling of crime, an enormous issue beguiling big city mayors everywhere.[3] Lightfoot’s unfavorable ratings soared with Chicagoans fed up with gun violence, as well as carjackings and robberies.[4]

Voters had the option of casting their ballot at their assigned precinct polling place, an early voting location in each of Chicago’s 50 wards, or heading to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners supersite at 191 N. Clark St. Early and vote-by-mail options were up about 48.2% from the 2019 election.[5]

Vallas and Johnson will face off in an April 4 runoff election. Vallas has run as a law-and-order candidate and drawn support from conservatives around the city, while Johnson had the backing and organizational benefits of the powerful Chicago Teachers Union.[6]

Voters must postmark their mail ballots by Feb. 28 and arrive by March 14 to be counted.[7] Any candidate that finishes within 5% of second place can request a recount.[7] The candidate with the most votes, provided they receive more than 50% of the total votes cast, is the winner.[8] If you have been sent a mail ballot, but would prefer to vote in person, you must take the mail ballot to an early voting site or your precinct polling place and hand it over to an election judge.[5]

0. “Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot loses re-election bid” BBC, 1 Mar. 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-64806760

1. “Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will lose reelection bid, CNN projects, as crime concerns grow” CNN, 1 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/28/politics/chicago-mayor-election-results/index.html

2. “Chicago election 2023: Mayoral candidates vie for undecided voters in final push” WLS-TV, 28 Feb. 2023, https://abc7chicago.com/chicago-election-mayoral-2023-mayor/12891685/

3. “How Mayor Lori Lightfoot Lost Chicago” New York Magazine, 1 Mar. 2023, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2023/02/how-mayor-lori-lightfoot-lost-chicago.html

4. “Lori Lightfoot becomes the first Chicago mayor in 40 years to lose re-election” NBC News, 1 Mar. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/lori-lightfoot-becomes-first-chicago-mayor-40-years-lose-re-election-rcna71997

5. “Challengers Aim to Block a 2nd Lightfoot Term as Crime, Public Safety Dominate Mayoral and City Council Races” WTTW News, 28 Feb. 2023, https://news.wttw.com/2023/02/28/challengers-aim-block-2nd-lightfoot-term-crime-public-safety-dominate-mayoral-and-city

6. “Paul Vallas, a front-runner in the Chicago mayor’s race, was a controversial leader of Philly schools” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/paul-vallas-mayor-chicago-philadelphia-education-20230223.html

7. “Overview and Live Results: Chicago Mayoral Election, Legislative Special Elections” 270toWin, 28 Feb. 2023, https://www.270towin.com/news/2023/02/28/overview-live-results-chicago-mayoral-election-legislative-special-elections_1468.html

8. “This Conservative Pseudo-Democrat Could Become Chicago's Next Mayor” The New Republic, 27 Feb. 2023, https://newrepublic.com/article/170788/paul-vallas-conservative-pseudo-democrat-chicago-next-mayor