Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot loses re-election bid, concedes defeat

Lori E. Lightfoot. Photo:

March 1 (UPI) –Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has lost her re-election bid and conceded defeat, becoming Chicago’s first one-term mayor in 40 years.

Lightfoot conceded Chicago’s mayoral race Tuesday evening, shortly before 9 p.m., after 89% of the precincts showed the mayor headed for a third-place finish with 16.4% of the vote.

“Obviously, we didn’t win the election. But I stand here with my head held high and my heart full of thanks,” Lightfoot told supporters.

Lightfoot, the first Black woman and the first openly gay person to serve as Chicago’s mayor, came in third behind former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, who won 35.2% of the vote, and Cook County Commissioner and Chicago Teachers Union organizer Brandon Johnson, who had won 20.25% as of Tuesday night.

While none of the candidates received more than 50% of the vote required to win, the top two candidates of the nine on the ballot will advance to a runoff election on April 4.

In her concession speech, Lightfoot told her supporters she is “rooting and praying for the next mayor of Chicago.”

“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,” Lightfoot said.

Vallas, 69, spoke to his supporters after Lightfoot’s concession speech and after receiving a call from the outgoing mayor.

“I haven’t been this happy since my son returned from Afghanistan,” Vallas said as he called on the crowd to give Lightfoot a round of applause for her service.

Vallas, who campaigned on a law-and-order message, repeatedly called public safety a “fundamental right” during his campaign and pledged to “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,” Vallas vowed Tuesday night.

Johnson, 46, who is expected to face Vallas in the April runoff, also claimed victory.

“Well, Chicago, we did it, y’all. Tonight is about building a Chicago that truly invests in our people,” Johnson told his supporters. “The finances of this city belong to the people of the city. So, we’re gonna invest in the people of the city.”

Lightfoot’s loss Tuesday, which comes amid backlash over violent crime and homelessness, makes her the first full-term incumbent in Chicago to fail to win re-election since 1983.

In response to critics during her campaign, Lightfoot took steps to remove homeless people who had been sleeping in O’Hare International Airport over security concerns.

“While it is not illegal to be homeless in this city, it is trespassing to be at O’Hare or Midway without any airport business,” Lightfoot said earlier this month.

As Lightfoot faced backlash from critics, arguing she had not done enough to deal with homelessness, she faced additional backlash from others who demanded she treat those sheltered at the airport more humanely.

After conceding the race, Lightfoot thanked Chicago in a tweet.

“Serving as your mayor has been the honor of a lifetime, and I am so grateful to all of you who have stood beside me these last four years,” Lightfoot said.

“We’ve made significant progress building a safer, more equitable city. I thank each and every one of you for believing in me.”



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here