Lori Lightfoot blames Chicago election loss on racism, gender issues

Lightfoot finished Tuesday with only 16.4 percent of the vote, trailing Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas, former chief of Chicago Public Schools.

Tuesday’s failure of Lori Lightfoot to make it to the Chicago mayoral race runoff, which she attributes to racism and female inequality, has changed the Windy City political landscape.

The first Black woman and openly gay person to lead Chicago, Lightfoot is the city’s first mayor to lose a bid for re-election since Jane Byrne in 1983, according to The New York Post.

Answering a journalist’s question about whether she’d been treated unfairly, Lightfoot replied: “I’m a black woman in America. Of course.”

Lori Lightfoot
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot participates in a forum with other Chicago mayoral candidates hosted by the Chicago Women Take Action Alliance in January at the Chicago Temple in Chicago. Lightfoot blames her re-election loss Tuesday on racism and gender issues. (Photo: Erin Hooley/AP, File)

“I am a Black woman — let’s not forget,” Lightfoot said in an article in The New Yorker Saturday, The Post reported. “Certain folks, frankly, don’t support us in leadership roles.”

Lightfoot finished Tuesday’s election with only 16.4 percent of the vote, trailing Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson and former Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas.

In analyzing how she went from “political rock star to rock bottom,” The Chicago Tribune claimed Lightfoot campaigned in 2019 by arguing crime was too high, saying she wanted Chicago to be the “safest big city in the country.”

However, crime reportedly skyrocketed on her watch. More than 800 homicides were committed in Chicago in 2021, the most in a quarter-century. The number decreased by 14 percent last year, but the homicide rate stayed nearly 40 percent higher than in 2019.

The city also reportedly experienced over 20,000 theft incidents in 2022, nearly twice as many as the previous year.

Police say that compared to 2022, crime rates have soared in the first three weeks of this year by 61 percent.

Diana Dejacimo, who was robbed at gunpoint in December in the posh Lincoln Park area, bid Lightfoot farewell. She said Wednesday the only way to resolve the city’s issues is through a change of government.

For Dejacimo, the city’s crime surge was a key factor at the polls.

“We have two very different approaches now of the two guys that are having the runoff,” Dejacimo said, The Post reported. She said one is police protection and supporting the police, while the other is more about defunding the police and self-rule.

“So we’ll see how it turns out,” she added, “but I’m glad the city spoke out and said no more Lori Lightfoot.”

Chicago’s next mayor will be chosen in a runoff poll on April 4 between Vallas, who received 35 percent of the vote, and Johnson, who garnered 20.2 percent.

Nevertheless, Lightfoot declared that being mayor of Chicago was “the honor of a lifetime,” and she urged mayors across the U.S. not to be afraid to be bold.

“Regardless of tonight’s outcome,” Lightfoot said Tuesday, according to The Post, “we fought the right fights, and we put this city on a better path.”

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!