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Garcia bid to be Chicago’s next mayor falls short

Incumbent Lori Lightfoot also defeated in nine-candidate primary

Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill., was one of eight candidates running in Tuesday's primary against Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill., was one of eight candidates running in Tuesday's primary against Mayor Lori Lightfoot. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García fell short in his bid to become Chicago’s next mayor, trailing former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson in unofficial results Tuesday night.

Nine candidates, including incumbent Lori Lightfoot, were running in the nonpartisan contest. Since no one got more than 50 percent, Vallas and Johnson will meet in an April 4 runoff, The Associated Press reported.

According to unofficial numbers from the city’s Board of Election Commissioners, with more than 90 percent of precincts reporting, Vallas captured nearly 35 percent of the vote and Johnson received 20.21 percent. Lightfoot was running third, with 16.4 percent, and García had less than 14 percent.

Crime dominated the race, as Lightfoot, the first Black gay woman elected to lead Chicago, came under increasing criticism for rising violence in the city. She also tangled with the teachers union over pay and class sizes, which culminated in an 11-day strike in 2019. Lightfoot conceded the race shortly before 9 p.m. Central time.

García is a progressive Democrat who is in his third term representing Illinois’ 4th District, the state’s only Hispanic-majority district. A fixture in Chicago politics for decades, he was a protege of Harold Washington, Chicago’s first Black mayor.

García won the backing of several Latino advocacy groups, including the Latino Victory Fund. But he also was the target of a series of withering attack ads from Lightfoot, who sought to tie García to disgraced Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and indicted cryptocurrency mogul Sam Bankman-Fried.

Vallas was endorsed by the Chicago police union and Johnson was supported by various unions, including the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Chicago Teachers Union.

Lightfoot told supporters, “We didn’t win the election today, but I stand here with my head held high,” NBC News reported.

Earlier this year, García said he planned to remain in the House unless he won the mayor’s race.

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