Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot concedes


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“I’ve called Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas to congratulate them on their victories in advancing,” Lightfoot told supporters at the Carpenter’s Local 1 Hall. “We were fierce competitors. … But I will be reading and praying for our next mayor to deliver for the people for years to come.”

Two runoff competitors could hardly be more different among Lightfoot’s leading challengers.

Vallas ran to the right of Lightfoot and has focused primarily on public safety. He won the endorsement of Chicago’s conservative Fraternal Order of Police and faced accusations from his rivals of being a Republican despite declaring himself a Democrat.

And although Johnson, a progressive with the backing of the Chicago Teachers Union, doesn’t use “defund the police” rhetoric, he has argued for police resources to be redirected to the city’s social service agencies.

None of the nine candidates on the ballot came close to securing the 50 percent needed to win the nonpartisan election outright Tuesday.

“I haven’t been this happy since my son returned from Afghanistan,” Vallas, who was projected to make the runoff less than 45 minutes after polls closed on Election Day, told supporters at an event space called City Hall.

Lightfoot took the stage to concede less than two hours after the polls closed.

With her wife at her side and her daughter in the hall, Lightfoot said she would be “rooting and praying” for the next mayor. “We didn’t win the election today, but I stand here with my head held high and heart full of gratitude.”

Vallas has also been a school administrator in New Orleans and Philadelphia, and unsuccessfully campaigned for Illinois governor in 2002. When he didn’t qualify for the Chicago mayoral runoff in 2019, he endorsed Lightfoot.

Before Vallas took the lead, it was Democratic Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who pushed then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel into a runoff in 2015, who was expected to be Lightfoot’s biggest threat. But Garcia started his campaign late so he could first win reelection to Congress in the November midterms. That delayed his fundraising and put him weeks behind with getting on TV.

This is the city’s third runoff in the 24 years since Chicago started holding nonpartisan elections.

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