(Andrew Hensel, The Center Square) Lori Lightfoot’s tenure as Chicago mayor will end after her first term.
Lightfoot – widely criticized as rising violent crime plagued the city during her four years in office, for her strict COVID-19 restrictions, and as students in Chicago Public Schools struggled to perform at grade level – conceded in her race for re-election in Tuesday’s primary.
Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and Cook County Commissioner and Chicago Teachers Union operative Brandon Johnson will head to a runoff election to determine Lightfoot’s successor.
Vallas held a healthy lead with more than 90% of precincts reporting, receiving about 35% of the total votes counted.
Since no candidate received more than 50% of the vote, the election will go to a runoff on April 4.
During his campaign, Vallas focused on high violent crime rates in the city and reforming policing. Chicago has been the murder capital of the U.S. for nine consecutive years.
Johnson, who surged in polling in recent weeks, finished in second place, earning a runoff against Vallas. Johnson is a staunch supporter of public employee unions.
“Brandon Johnson’s platform on the issues Chicagoans care about stands in stark contrast to what new polling shows Chicagoans want,” Illinois Policy Institute spokesman Austin Berg said in a statement released late Tuesday. “Sixty-two percent of Chicagoans support school choice. Brandon Johnson and the Chicago Teachers Union want to crush school choice.”
Six other candidates also were eliminated from contention Tuesday night, including Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.