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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot loses re-election bid

Lightfoot fails to qualify for the second round in the mayoral race, where crime was a top priority in the third-largest US city.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has lost her bid to run the United States’ third-largest city for a second term after failing to qualify for the runoff election in a public safety race. was standing.

Lightfoot came in third in Tuesday’s mayoral election — behind Paul Vallas, a former schools CEO, and Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner — becoming the first Chicago mayor to lose reelection since 1983.

Lightfoot’s loss signals growing discontent in US cities as crime rates rose and housing became more expensive amid growing economic hardship and inflation following the COVID-19 pandemic.

With neither candidate receiving 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday in a crowded field of contenders, Vallas and Johnson will face off in a runoff in April.

Lightfoot made history four years ago when she became the first black woman and openly gay person to lead the city of 2.7 million people.

She pledged to end corruption and backroom dealing in local politics. But her tenure was marred by mounting challenges that also faced other major cities.

Crime rates, already a problem in Chicago, rose during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the city seeing 804 homicides in 2021, compared to 500 in 2019, according to police data. Nearly 700 people died in the city last year, down from 2021 but still well above pre-pandemic levels.

“Regardless of tonight’s outcome, we’ve fought the right fights and we’ve put this city on a better path,” Lightfoot said Tuesday. Asked if she was treated unfairly because of her race and gender, Lightfoot said, “I am a black woman in America. Naturally.”

Right-wing politicians often cite gun violence in Chicago, a Democratic stronghold, as a symbol of what they see as the failure of liberal policies.

While both Vallas and Johnson identify as Democrats and the race is nonpartisan, many Republicans celebrated Lightfoot’s loss on Tuesday.

“Lori Lightfoot. Crime doesn’t pay,” wrote far-right Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene on Twitter.

Lightfoot had clashed with the police union and teachers’ union in its handling of the pandemic, drawing criticism from conservatives and progressives alike.

The mayor engaged in a legal and political battle with the Fraternal Order of Police in 2021 over the city’s requirement that law enforcement officials report their COVID-19 vaccination status.

She also argued with the teachers’ union in early 2022 over her push to return to face-to-face learning amid teachers’ health and safety concerns.

The opponents who defeated her on Tuesday were supported by the two unions respectively. Vallas was endorsed by the police union and Johnson was endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union.

Vallas, the top voter, had made public safety a central focus of his campaign.

“Public safety is a human right and it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that residents feel safe. Tackling the city’s crime problem and ensuring the safety of our residents is my top priority,” reads his campaign website.

On Tuesday, he pledged to “make Chicago the safest city in America.”

Johnson, who is backed by progressive groups, has vowed to pursue a different approach to public safety by investing in social programs, youth employment and mental health clinics to prevent crime.

“I will work with police and first responders to invest in community interventions that de-escalate conflict, reduce violence and make our neighborhoods safer,” reads his campaign website.