Why did Lori Lightfoot lose her re-election bid?

The incumbent mayor is on the outs. What caused her 'spectacular fall' and who might replace her?

Lori Lightfoot.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Gettyimages)

Lori Lightfoot lost her re-election bid and will not serve a second term as the mayor of Chicago after failing to advance to a runoff election planned for April. There were nine candidates in the mayoral race, including the two top vote earners, Paul Vallas, a former chief executive of Chicago Public Schools, and Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner. Vallas and Johnson are backed by the Fraternal Order of Police and the Chicago Teachers Union, respectively. With nearly 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Lightfoot came in third, with only 17.1 percent of the vote.

Lightfoot's loss marked a significant downturn in support from when she was elected in 2019 "by winning every single ward in Chicago, securing almost 75 percent of the vote," Axios reports. Lightfoot made history as the city's first Black woman and openly gay mayor, and many hailed her win as a "new, transparent, progressive day for Chicago politics," Axios continues. However, enthusiasm around her leadership waned over her tumultuous term. In the weeks leading up to the election, "some of her most ardent former supporters publicly backed other candidates."

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Theara Coleman, The Week US

Theara Coleman has worked as a staff writer at The Week since September 2022. She frequently writes about technology, education, literature and general news. She was previously a contributing writer and assistant editor at Honeysuckle Magazine, where she covered racial politics and cannabis industry news.