Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot attributed her election loss to racism and sexism in comments to reporters Tuesday night, glossing over the impact of violent crime, which surged in the windy city during her tenure.
Lightfoot failed to make the April runoff, losing to Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson, who outflanked her from the right and left respectively. Crime had become the leading issue in the election, leading Lightfoot to pivot towards supporting the police.
“I’m a black woman in America. Of course,” she replied when asked by a reporter if she had been treated unfairly, according to the New York Post. Lightfoot neglected to mention that Johnson is also black.
Nevertheless, she called her time as Chicago’s mayor “the honor of a lifetime.”
“Regardless of tonight’s outcome, we fought the right fights and we put this city on a better path,” Lightfoot said.
The comments made Tuesday night were in line with her previously stated view that it is difficult for someone like her to succeed in an electoral setting.
In an interview with the New Yorker prior to the election, Lightfoot explained: “I am a black woman — let’s not forget. Certain folks, frankly, don’t support us in leadership roles.”
“The same forces that didn’t want Harold Washington to succeed, they’re still here,” she told one black audience, referring to the city’s first black mayor.
Lightfoot is the first black woman and the first openly gay person to lead the nation’s third-largest city.
She has been heavily criticized for the rampant crime in Chicago and the demonization of the police. While Lightfoot initially supported cutting the city’s police budget, she has since pivoted.
Violent crime in the city increased by 40 percent since she was elected in 2019 on a promise to bring down crime rates, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
With 94 percent of votes counted, Vallas, who was the tough-on-crime choice of the Fraternal Order of the Police, is leading with a plurality of 34 percent. Brandon Johnson, who wants to defund the police, is second with 20 percent of the vote.
Fifty percent of the vote was needed to avoid a runoff, which will take place on April 4, 2023.