Lightfoot concedes; Vallas and Johnson heading to April runoff

By Leah Love and Olivia Cohen

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot pauses during her concession speech as her spouse Amy Eshleman applauds during an election night party for the mayoral election Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)


Lori Lightfoot, the first Black woman and first openly gay mayor, who won in a landslide victory back in 2019, has lost her mayoral re-election bid.

Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and Cook County commissioner Brandon Johnson emerged Tuesday night as frontrunners in the mayoral election, heading to a run-off election on April 4. 

Lightfoot conceded the race slightly before 9 p.m., becoming the first Chicago mayor in 40 years to not win a second term. Lightfoot has become increasingly unpopular over the course of her time in office, with polling showing 54% of voters having an unfavorable opinion of her. 

Lightfoot, who won all 50 wards in her 2019 victory, has faced criticism for her handling of the pandemic, increasing tensions with the Chicago Public Schools teacher’s union and mishandling of crime in the city. 

Lightfoot was one of nine candidates running for the mayoral candidacy. 

This is a developing story. Updates to follow.