Jun 9, 2022 - Politics

Lightfoot steps back into the ring

Photo illustration of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot with lines radiating from her.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios; Photo: Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Mayor Lori Lightfoot toured the city yesterday to tout her administration's accomplishments a day after officially announcing a bid for re-election.

Why it matters: A new video makes it clear Lightfoot's all-in for a second term and ready to flip perceived weaknesses to her advantage — like criticism that she takes things personally.

  • "When we fight for change … only to have powerful forces try and stop progress for Chicago, of course I take it personal — for our city," she says in the video.

By the numbers: Lightfoot's primary fundraising account had just $1.7 million after the first quarter, while challenger Willie Wilson has already given himself a cool $5 million, the Sun-Times notes.

What they're saying: Lightfoot won in 2019 with 74% of the vote, but veteran political operative Victor Reyes tells Axios that falling approval ratings over the last year have put her in "a very difficult position for an incumbent to start from."

  • Reyes says "lakefront voters" who backed Lightfoot in 2019 may be flagging over "crime and other issues," but "to win she is going to have to win back that constituency."

The big picture: Attendees of Lightfoot's Tuesday-night fundraiser offered clues as to who might support her re-election campaign:

  • Members of the City Council's Black Caucus, including chair Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) and Ald. Michelle Harris (8th).
  • State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who represents the North Side and must-win lakefront neighborhoods Edgewater and Rogers Park.
  • Sam Toia, who leads the Illinois Restaurant Association and lobbied the mayor to reopen dining rooms and relax mask mandates.
  • LGBTQ+ leaders, including the Equality Illinois chair. Perhaps more telling was activist Art Johnston. As the owner of popular bar Sidetrack, Johnston is a huge influence in the LGBTQ+ community.

💭 Justin's thought bubble: It will be fascinating to see how voters reconcile their core issues with the fact that almost all of Lightfoot's term happened during the worst health crisis our city (and the world) has seen in over 100 years.

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