Chicago Election: One-Term Mayor Lightfoot Out, Vallas and Johnson to Face Off in April Runoff

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has made history as the first Black woman and the first openly gay person ever to serve as the city’s mayor.[0] However, she will not be making history again, as she has lost her bid for re-election in a campaign that was marked by controversy over the high crime rate in the city. Lightfoot placed third in the race, becoming the first one-term mayor in 40 years.[1]

Paul Vallas, the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson (D-1st) have advanced to a runoff election on April 4th.[2] Vallas has promised a tough-on-crime approach to politics, and has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police.[3] His main issue is crime, and he has promised to make Chicago the safest city in America by providing the police with the resources and support they need, plus building a bond between the police department and the community for true community policing.[4] Johnson, who is Black, is a former schoolteacher and has been a paid organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union, and is also a vocal supporter of defunding police.[5] He has instead put an emphasis on the requirement of a “comprehensive approach” that is targeted towards the prevention of the origins of crime, such as poverty and mental instability.[6]

The April 4th general election will be a showdown between Vallas’ tough-on-crime approach and Johnson’s progressive stance. It will be a tough race between now and then, as Johnson will have to gain support from the other candidates, including Congressman Chuy García, who came in fourth with 14%. It will be up to Chicago voters to decide which vision of urban governance they prefer.[7]

0. “Battenfeld: Ouster of liberal mayor in Chicago could be warning sign for Michelle Wu” Boston Herald, 2 Mar. 2023,

1. “In Chicago runoff election for mayor, Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson differ on crime” USA TODAY, 2 Mar. 2023,

2. “Vallas and Johnson head to runoff election for mayor” Hyde Park Herald, 1 Mar. 2023,

3. “MAP: Here's How Your Neighborhood Voted In the 2023 Chicago Mayoral Election” Block Club Chicago, 1 Mar. 2023,

4. “Get Ready For the Runoff – Chicago Magazine”, 1 Mar. 2023,

5. “Chicago's bitter election is now a nasty runoff” POLITICO, 2 Mar. 2023,

6. “Will Lightfoot voters go to Johnson or Vallas?” WBEZ Chicago, 1 Mar. 2023,

7. “Real Estate Reacts to Chicago's Mayoral Runoff” The Real Deal, 1 Mar. 2023,

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