CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced her re-election campaign.
A campaign video posted on YouTube highlights the mayor’s successes and shared her commitment to solving the city’s problems.
“We have a lot of work to do because change just doesn’t happen overnight,” she said in the video. “But together we will make our city safer, fairer, and more equitable for all.”
In 2019, Lightfoot made history as the city’s first Black female mayor as well as the city’s first openly gay mayor. Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, defeated Cook County Board President and longtime City Council member Toni Preckwinkle.
The mayor’s first official event as a candidate is a fundraiser Tuesday night at a swanky River North spot. Political analyst Charles Thomas says it’s no accident Lightfoot begins the race asking for money.
“That she’s an incumbent doing it this long before the election is an indication to me that she’s desperate for money,” Thomas said. “She wants to put the arm on donors now while she’s mayor, make some promises, make some deals to raise some money.”
Candidates running against the mayor include former CPS CEO Paul Vallas, Ald. Ray Lopez, Businessman Willie Wilson, State Rep. Kam Buckner and Roderick Sawyer – all of whom have been hammering away Lightfoot’s public safety record.
“She has a crime problem, downtown, the Near North Side, the West Loop and the South Loop, those people vote, those people are very concerned about security in their neighborhoods,” Thomas said.
The re-election campaign will test Mayor Lightfoot’s discipline. She’s become known for her confrontational style and occasion off-message gaffe.
“Given the exacting standards that the state’s attorney has for charging a case which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, when those charges are brought, these people are guilty,” Lightfoot commented.
The mayor would walk back that statement saying she does in fact believe defendants are entitled to a presumption of innocence. But the comment made headlines on the eve of her official campaign launch.
“I think her style has worked against her, the profanity, the outburst,” Thomas said.
It’s an apparent vulnerability the mayor is ready to take head-on.
“I’ve had to fight to have my voice heard,” Lightfoot said in the video. “That’s why I’ll never back down from fighting every day to turn your voice into action.”
The mayor will kick off her re-election campaign Wednesday with a five-stop tour throughout the city, taking her message to the voters with stops in Ashburn, Greater Grand Crossing, Little Village, Garfield Park, and Northalstead.