Chicago Voters Elect a New Mayor

Chicago Voters at the Polls to Elect Mayor

( – Chicagoans are at the polls for the second time this year to decide who will lead the Windy City. Outgoing mayor Democrat Lori Lightfoot lost in the earlier, regular election. Now the remaining candidates are in a runoff.

The contest is between two Democrats. Paul Vallas is the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools and is described as a moderate. He is facing progressive Democrat Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson.

Though they belong to the same party, there appears to be a substantive difference between the moderate Vallas and the harder-left Johnson. Vermont Senator, Independent Bernie Sanders (a self-described “democratic socialist”) endorsed Johnson.

Johnson came in second to Vallas in the earlier election. Vallas had the backing of Chicago’s police union. Crime is a big topic on voters’ minds as it’s risen substantially in recent years, as has been the case for most large Democrat-run cities. Murders in 2021 hit a 25-year high, with 797 on the record.

The runoff was triggered because neither candidate got more than 50 percent of the votes.

Outgoing mayor Lightfoot was unpopular during her term, even within her own party. Staffers and colleagues complained about her management style, calling her abrasive and difficult. Leaked internal office memos from Lightfoot seemed to show a hectoring and dictatorial management approach.

She came in third during the earlier general election, a fact she blamed on racism. Lightfoot was the first Chicago mayor in 40 years who did not win re-election.

With 99% of the votes in, Vallas had only secured 286,647 votes compared to Johnson’s 270,775. This led to Vallas conceding the election to Johnson. There were 1.6 million registered voters on the rolls for the general election.

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