Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson will meet in a runoff to be the next mayor of Chicago after voters denied incumbent Lori Lightfoot a second term, issuing a rebuke to a leader who made history as head of the nation’s third-largest city.
Vallas, a former schools CEO backed by the police union, and Johnson, a Cook County commissioner endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union, advanced to the April 4 runoff after none of the nine candidates was able to secure over 50% of the vote on Tuesday to win outright.
Lightfoot, the first Black woman and first openly gay person to lead the city, won her first term in 2019 after promising to end decades of corruption and backroom dealing at City Hall. But opponents blamed Lightfoot for an increase in crime that occured in cities across the U.S. during the pandemic and criticized her as being a divisive, overly contentious leader.
She is the first elected Chicago mayor to lose a reelection bid since 1983, when Jane Byrne, the city’s first female mayor, lost her Democratic primary.
Speaking to supporters Tuesday night, Lightfoot called being Chicago’s mayor “the honor of a lifetime.”
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