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Chicago’s mayor race has joined the growing list of evidence that Americans are unhappy about crime.
Lori Lightfoot, the incumbent, yesterday became the first Chicago mayor in 40 years to lose a re-election campaign. Lightfoot — a progressive in her first term — finished third in the initial stage of this year’s campaign, in which nine candidates were trying to qualify for a runoff in April. Lightfoot received only 17 percent of the vote, according to the latest count.
The runoff will be between Paul Vallas, a former head of the city’s school system who ran on a tough-on-crime message, and Brandon Johnson, a progressive county commissioner who previously worked as a teacher and union organizer. Vallas finished with 34 percent of the vote and Johnson finished second with 20 percent.
Crime in Chicago has surged since the pandemic began, with the number of major crimes 33 percent higher last year than in 2019. The murder rate has fallen from its 2021 peak but only modestly, and robberies and car thefts have kept rising recently. In a recent poll, nearly two-thirds of Chicago residents said that they felt unsafe.
“Chicagoans are genuinely frustrated by the state of the city, and crime is vastly overshadowing any other concerns,” Julie Bosman, The Times’s Chicago bureau chief, told me. “In a city known for its powerful leaders, it’s unsurprising that a lot of Chicagoans see this as Lightfoot’s failure. Many voters I’ve talked to see this mayoral race as a chance to reset.”