CHICAGO —  After three grueling years that saw the COVID pandemic, civil unrest, financial anxiety, and a violence surge, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is sounding more and more like an incumbent running for re-election. 

“I think that we have done a very good job under very daunting odds,” Lightfoot said. “I will challenge you to find another mayor who has had to address the kind of challenges that I have in the last three years.”

Although Lightfoot said a decision about seeking another term would be announced “soon,” her stop Tuesday at the City Club of Chicago had all the feels of a campaign event. 

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“Ladies and gentlemen, there’s a narrative out there that our city is headed in the wrong direction,” the mayor said.

But according to Lightfoot, economic data show that’s not true. 

“Chicago’s unemployment rate as of February is at 4.9%. Already this year, 57 companies have made pro-Chicago decisions with thus far 29 relocations and 28 expansions,” Lightfoot said. “And folks, just wait till Memorial Day and our summer, it will be the summer of joy in Chicago.”

Lightfoot’s appearance at City Club comes as the race for mayor starts to take shape. Alderman Raymond Lopez and businessman Willie Wilson have both launched campaigns going after Lightfoot’s public safety record.

At City Club, the mayor only briefly mentioned violence. 

“Our challenges and particularly around public safety are real, complicated and decades in the making,” Lightfoot said.

City Club is a good place to raise campaign coins and Mayor Lightfoot needs to raise more funds. Her campaign account reported $1.7 million in cash on hand at the end of the first quarter.