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Chicago mayoral race: Lori Lightfoot ‘got it wrong’ when she told people who won’t vote for her not to vote

Chicago MMayor Lori Lightfoot claimed she “misspoken” when she said people who wouldn’t vote for her shouldn’t be running for mayor.

Lightfoot faces a tough re-election. Polls continue to show a slight downward trend in voter support for her and a strong lead for her opponents. At one of her final campaign events before the election, Lightfoot implored South Side voters to support her, saying that anyone who votes for someone “not named Lightfoot is a vote for Chuy Garcia or Paul Vallas “.


“If you want them to control your destiny and your destiny, then stay home,” Lightfoot said over the weekend at Grand Crossing. “Then don’t vote.”

However, after voting early Monday at Northeastern Illinois University, Lightfoot told reporters that he did not mean that no one should run for office.

“If I said anything other than everybody should vote, then I was wrong at a campaign rally,” he said. “But I’ve been very consistent all along saying that everybody everywhere needs to step up and they need to vote like I said today.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is seen on the first day of the Lollapalooza Music Festival on Thursday, July 28, 2022, in Grant Park in Chicago.

Rob Grabowski/Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP

This is not the first campaign strategy by Lightfoot that has drawn severe scrutiny from his opponents and the public. The mayor was criticized for dancing in the streets while rallying residents to vote during the Lunar New Year and for sending volunteer opportunities to schools and universities. The emailed volunteer incident prompted a widespread backlash from educators and mayoral candidates, an ethics complaint from parents and an investigation by the public school system’s inspector general.

A number of Lightfoot’s opponents criticized his remarks about the vote, saying he is harming the democratic process.

“This is disqualifying rhetoric for anyone who wants to lead a Chicago that is a multiracial, multiethnic city,” Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL) said, according to FOX 32.

Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, who is leading in the polls, said residents deserve new leadership and are ready to “turn the page” and elect a new mayor.

“Lori Lightfoot telling residents not to vote unless they vote for her shows that she cares more about keeping power for herself than empowering communities or doing things for the people of our city,” he said.

Other mayoral candidates, including philanthropist Willie Wilson and activist Ja’Mal Green, called his comments “delusional, divisive, dangerous and disappointing” and said it was a key indicator of their “desperation” .

“Just showed this to a bus load of new voters and the video motivated them more than ever to vote against Lightfoot today,” Green tweeted.

I just showed this to a busload of new voters and the video motivated them more than ever to vote against Lightfoot today. The city is ready for real leadership, a true outsider willing to bring the people to city hall. Lori’s desperation shows as her campaign collapses

— Ja’Mal Green (@JaymalGreen) February 19, 2023


Lightfoot’s re-election chances continue to dwindle. Poll numbers show Paul Vallas, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, in the lead with 22 percent. He is followed by Lightfoot with 17.1%. While Lightfoot’s numbers have increased slightly since the polls were taken in early February, other candidates are steadily closing the gap.

The elections will be held on February 28, and a second round is scheduled for April 4 if neither candidate receives 50% of the vote.

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