Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot hasn’t had an easy ride as leader of the Windy City. And now she is facing some major competition for her spot. By most accounts, many doubt the city’s first Black woman and the first gay person elected mayor will be re-elected on Feb. 28.
A 60-year-old former federal prosecutor isn’t polling well. Lightfoot, who was first elected to the office in 2019, is considered the underdog against eight rivals, including six other Black candidates; U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (D., Ill.), who is Hispanic; and former schools chief Paul Vallas, who is white. Garcia appears to be the front-runner. In a recent Chicago Index Poll, Lightfoot is trailing in fourth place. The polling showed Lightfoot trailing candidates Garcia and Brandon Johnson, who each received 25 percent of polled voters’ support, and Vallas, who is shown to have 15 percent of the vote. Lightfoot received just 11 percent. All other candidates received 5 percent or less. The poll surveyed 1,757 Chicago residents between Nov. 29 and Dec. 14, 2022.
While Lightfoot has made progress with the city’s long-term budget concerns, crime in the city has exploded. The city has seen a surge in crime recently, with 804 murders in 2021, the highest level since the 1990s. Although murders dropped 14 percent to 694 in 2022, murders are still above pre-pandemic levels.
The incumbent has received some key endorsements, and she has been spending heavily on advertising; she has reportedly spent at least two times more than her opponents–but she’s spending more than she’s raising, The Chicago Tribune reported. Lightfoot began the quarter with $2.9 million in the bank and raised nearly $1.5 million between October and December of 2022. During that same period, she spent about $3 million — $2 million of it went to advertising, according to the filing with the Illinois State Board of Elections. Lightfoot went on to raise another $109,000 since the beginning of 2023, which means she has about $1.5 million left until the election.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot participates in a forum with other Chicago mayoral candidates hosted by the Chicago Women Take Action Alliance Jan. 14, 2023, at the Chicago Temple in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)