Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot cited race and gender as contributing factors to losing her reelection bid.
On Tuesday (February 28), Lightfoot, the first Black woman and first openly gay person mayor of Chicago, came up short in her bid for reelection after four controversial years in office, CBS News reports. It is the first time in 40 years that an incumbent Chicago mayor lost after one term.
Speaking to supporters on Tuesday night, Lightfoot said being Chicago mayor was “the honor of a lifetime.”
“Regardless of tonight’s outcome, we fought the right fights and we put this city on a better path,” she said.
“We were fierce competitors in these last few months, but I will be rooting and praying for our next mayor to deliver for the people of the city for years to come,” Lightfoot added, per WBBM.
When asked on Tuesday if she was treated unfairly due to her race and gender, Lightfoot said: “I’m a black woman in America. Of course,” per the New York Post.
With roughly 98 percent of the vote counted, Lightfoot landed in third place, garnering only 17 percent. Challengers Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson will now face off in a runoff to be the next mayor of Chicago after receiving 34 percent and 20 percent of the vote, respectively.
During her time in office, Lightfoot faced heavy criticism over her leadership style and a spike in crime that began during the pandemic.
“Lightfoot campaigned for mayor in 2019 by arguing crime was too high, saying she wanted to make Chicago the ‘safest big city in the country,’” the Chicago Tribune reported. “But homicides, mostly from gun violence, spiked dramatically in 2020 and 2021 from 500 murders in 2019 to 776 and 804 in the next two years, respectively. Shootings and carjackings also skyrocketed.”
Lightfoot and a number of her supporters believe criticism of her tenure was rooted in racism and sexism.
“No other mayor has been asked to change this city within four years,” said city Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, per CBS News. “When we get in the game, the rules change.”
“I am a black woman — let’s not forget,” Lightfoot told the New Yorker ahead of Tuesday’s vote. “Certain folks, frankly, don’t support us in leadership roles.”
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