Lori Lightfoot ousted in Chicago mayoral election
Chicago's next mayor will be either progressive county commissioner Brandon Johnson or a former schools chief named Paul Vallas after incumbent mayor Lori Lightfoot was knocked out of the race Tuesday night, AP reports.
Why it matters: It's a stunning upset for Lightfoot, a first-term incumbent who was Chicago's first Black female and first openly gay mayor.
- She's also the first sitting Chicago mayor to lose in four decades.
- No candidate won more than 50% of the vote, pushing Johnson and Vallas into a runoff to become mayor of America's third-largest city.
The big picture: Lightfoot secured almost 75% of the vote in 2019, but her rough first term included a global pandemic, civil unrest over the police murder of George Floyd and rising crime.
- She also faced the departure of high-profile businesses from the city including Boeing, Citadel and Caterpillar, who left or relocated headquarters under Lightfoot's watch.
State of play: Lightfoot becomes only the second one-term Chicago mayor in 40 years. The last was Mayor Jane Byrne, who served from 1979-1983.
- This week, Chicago saw record early voting, boosted by a huge jump in mail-in ballots that tripled the number cast in 2019.
Zoom in: Paul Vallas, the only white candidate in the race, fended off challenges by Lightfoot and six other Black candidates.
- Vallas, the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, ran a campaign criticizing Lightfoot's record on public safety and promising to restore law and order. He also won the endorsement of the Chicago police union.
The other side: Johnson, a progressive former teacher, enjoys strong support from the powerful Chicago Teachers Union, which has fought public battles with Lightfoot over contracts and COVID safety.
What's next: Chicago is in for another month of heavy campaigning before the runoff election on April 4.
- The two finalists, who could court niche voting blocks in the first round, will now have to reach out to the entire city.