Even liberal Democrats can reach a breaking point. That’s what Chicago’s soon-to-be ex-Mayor Lori Lightfoot discovered when she lost her Democratic mayoral primary to Paul Vallas. Not only did she lose the primary, she came in third in field of nine candidates.
Lightfoot, who touted being the first black woman and openly gay mayor of Chicago, can now add another first to her resume. She is the first Chicago mayor in 40 years to lose a re-election bid earning just 17.1 percent of the vote.
She came in behind Vallas who earned 33.8 percent of the vote. He made public safety his primary campaign issue and had the backing of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police. Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson earned 20.3 percent of the vote. Because neither candidate earned 50 percent of the vote, they were head to run-off election on Apr. 4.
The major issue in the campaign was public safety, and it dogged Lightfoot. “Throughout her term, she has been criticized for her soft-on-crime approach, which has led to massive increases in violence in the city, which is up 52 percent from last year and more than 100 percent from 2021,” according to the UK Daily Mail.
It is something that Lightfoot refused to acknowledge. In she concession speech, she said she was “grateful that we worked together to remove a record number of guns off our streets, reduce homicides and started making real progress on public safety.”
Hopefully, this was just political-speak because if she believes it, it shows why she needed to be voted out. She is out of touch with her constituents. She may think progress was made against crime, but it was obvious to people who had to live with the rising incidents of crime in the city that Lightfoot’s belief was a delusion. They chose to give someone who wasn’t living in a fantasy world a chance to make improvements.
When asked if she had been treated unfairly, Lightfoot, still showing she was out of touch with voters, said, “I’m a Black woman in America. Of course.”
Vallas, on the other hand, said, “I want to thank the voters of Chicago for making this campaign about the issues and nothing but the issues.”
He focused on the issues that voters wanted to hear about. Residents want something done to bring crime under control, and if the people they expect to do this (the police) are backing Vallas, then they are willing to give Vallas and the police a chance to prove they can protect the public.
Now with the crowded field down to two candidates, this month will give them both a chance reach more voters with their message. Voters can consider their positions on how each candidate feels Chicago can be made safer.
Whoever wins the run-off Democratic primary will for all intents and purposes be the next mayor in the heavily Democrat city. Whether that is Vallas or Johnson, the next mayor will need to show progress on the war against crime or become the first mayor since Lightfoot to fail in a re-election bid.
Michael A. Letts is the CEO and Founder of In-VestUSA, a national grassroots non-profit organization helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs.