Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has lost her bid for re-election, in what has been called a resounding defeat, amid widespread dissatisfaction from voters over her handling of crime, The Associated Press (AP) reports.
In a run-off election, Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson will vie for the position of the city’s mayor.
Former schools CEO, Vallas, who is backed by the police union, will face Cook County Commissioner, Johnson, who was endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union.
None of the nine candidates was able to secure over 50% of the vote to win outright, resulting in a run-off.
Lightfoot had made history as the head of the nation’s third-largest city, but opponents blamed her for an increase in crime that occurred in cities across the US during the pandemic.
Critics also accused her of being a divisive and overly contentious leader.
In her first term, Lightfoot had promised to end decades of corruption and backroom dealing at City Hall.
Speaking to supporters, she called being 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.
She also urged her fellow mayors around the country not to fear being bold, AP notes.
At his victory party, Vallas thanked Lightfoot for calling to congratulate him, and asked the crowd to give her a round of applause.
Vallas had campaigned on a promise to combat crime and said that, if elected, he would work to address public safety issues.
“We will have a safe Chicago. We will make Chicago the safest city in America,” he declared.
Johnson, who noted the improbability that he would make the run-off considering his low name recognition at the start of the race, thanked the unions that supported him and gave a special shout-out to his wife.
“Chicago, a Black woman will still be in charge,” he said.
The mayoral election result in Chicago is seen as a significant setback for Lightfoot, who had campaigned on a platform of change and reform.
With Vallas and Johnson now competing for the position, the residents of Chicago are hoping for a better future for the city, especially in terms of public safety.