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Chicago mayor defeated in re-election bid

Chicago voters ousted Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday night time, making her the primary mayor within the metropolis to lose re-election in 40 years.

The defeat was a outstanding reversal from the landslide 4 years in the past that carried Lightfoot, then a political unknown, to Metropolis Corridor, and made her the primary black lesbian to run the third-largest metropolis within the US.

However in a sprawling area of 9 candidates, amid a race dominated by fears over crime, the mayor was unable to win sufficient votes to safe a spot in a run-off election in April. Lightfoot acquired 75,000 votes, or 16 per cent of the overall solid.

“I will likely be rooting and praying for our subsequent mayor to ship within the years to return,” Lightfoot stated in her concession speech. “Clearly, we didn’t win the election, however I stand right here with my head held excessive.”

Tuesday’s high vote-getter was Paul Vallas, who was appointed chief govt of Chicago Public Faculties in 1995, later holding related posts in New Orleans and Philadelphia. The one white candidate within the race, Vallas hammered on the theme of public security and gained the backing of town’s police union. He gained 159,000 votes, or 35 per cent of the overall.

“Public security is the basic proper of each American,” Vallas stated to supporters on Tuesday night time. “We are going to make Chicago the most secure metropolis in America.”

Vallas’s marketing campaign strategist Joe Trippi famous “if you happen to’re not protected to stroll the streets, nothing actually issues . . . I didn’t suppose we’d break 30 [per cent], however we now have.”

Brandon Johnson, a commissioner in county authorities, positioned second within the race, with 92,000 votes, or 20 per cent of the overall. Johnson, a political progressive backed by the highly effective Chicago Academics Union, surged late within the race.

A candidate must obtain greater than 50 per cent of the vote to win outright, so Vallas and Johnson will face one another in an April 4 run-off. It’s the solely the third such contest within the metropolis’s historical past, the primary coming eight years in the past when Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, now a US consultant, compelled then-mayor Rahm Emanuel right into a run-off.

About 32 per cent of registered voters in Chicago solid ballots within the election. The Chicago board of elections will start counting one other 99,000 mail-in ballots on Wednesday.

Lightfoot campaigned as a progressive in 2019, and the previous federal prosecutor was swept into workplace by voters outraged over political corruption in Metropolis Corridor. Her tenure was marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the civil unrest that adopted the homicide of George Floyd and a murder fee that peaked in 2021.

The murder fee fell once more final 12 months, however stays increased than when Lightfoot took workplace. Different classes of crime, similar to carjackings, have risen.

Vallas’s law-and-order marketing campaign message appealed to his political base of white conservative voters. He raised $5.1mn, a lot from Republican donors, and was backed by town’s police union, which he represented in contract negotiations.

He did appeal to some controversy throughout the race. A Chicago Tribune investigation discovered that Vallas’s Twitter account had preferred posts that used homophobic language to seek advice from Lightfoot and to reward “stop-and-frisk”, a controversial police tactic that disproportionately targets black folks.

Vallas denied sharing the views of the posters and stated his account was hacked.

Contributing to his sturdy displaying was the central function crime performed within the race, stated Delmarie Cobb, a longtime Chicago political operative. The town is among the most racially segregated within the US, and lots of black neighbourhoods have suffered for years from prison exercise. However as crime has risen in additional prosperous and white areas, “now there’s an issue”, Cobb stated.

The nine-candidate area was predominantly black. In a metropolis the place racial politics have lengthy influenced the mayor’s race, Cobb stated that white voters could have been “trying to somebody white to be the reply to fixing the issue”. Earlier on Tuesday, Vallas was displaying excessive vote counts in wards situated on the north-west and south-west sides, that are predominantly white and residential to most of the metropolis’s cops and firefighters.

However Lightfoot additionally misplaced allies as she gained a popularity of being tough to work with. The truth that 4 years in the past she trounced a candidate, Toni Preckwinkle, who was well-known in Chicago and had gained most of her races, solely to lose to Vallas, Cobb stated, “simply goes to indicate you it was hers to lose”.