New Poll Shows Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in Fourth Place With the Election Next Month

AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes

From 1989 to 2019, Chicago knew only two mayors — Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel. Now it appears that after one term, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is going to be kicked to the curb — a fate she earned with graceless incompetence and dimwitted management of a city that’s out of control.

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The latest poll on the crowded Democratic field to challenge Lightfoot is significant. The two most radical candidates — Lightfoot and Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia — are trailing the far less crazy Paul Vallas by a heft margin.

Vallas leads the nine-candidate field with 26% followed by Garcia with 19%. In third place is teachers’ union staffer Brandon Johnson with 12.2%. And despite an impressive TV ad blitz, incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot is in fourth place with just 9% of the vote.

Pollster Matt Podgorski of the political consulting firm M3 told Fox 32, “The big takeaway that we saw is that Chuy Garcia and Paul Vallas basically flip-flopped spots. Now I’ve got Paul Vallas in first place with 26% and Chuy Garcia in second with 19%.”

Vallas, a former Chicago Public School system CEO and a political veteran, ran for governor in 2002, lieutenant governor in 2014, and Chicago mayor in 2019. He’s been spending heavily this month, and the move has paid off.

Garcia has been the target of negative ads from Lightfoot and has yet to begin his major ad spending.

Fox 32:

The West Side congressman has not yet begun airing TV commercials of his own. A leader of Garcia’s campaign told FOX 32 Chicago News that once Garcia goes up on the air, he plans to stay up through Feb. 28, the day first-round votes will be counted by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

Johnson, whose campaign relies heavily on cash from the teachers union, appears to have benefited from an aggressive schedule of paid media. He surged from just 3.2% in M3’s December survey to 12.2% this week.

Mayor Lightfoot’s campaign spending did not stem a decline in support found by the survey. She fell from 14.5% in December to single digit territory this week: 9.8%.

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Garcia has been less than outspoken in his political positions, especially compared to 2019 when he was seen as a radical reformer. He surprised then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel by forcing him into a runoff election. This time, Garcia is more measured in his campaign rhetoric after having the benefit of spending a term in Congress.

Political observers in Chicago now expect Vallas and Garcia to move on to the runoff election on April 4 while Lightfoot finishes off her term in disgrace. The initial enthusiasm for Lightfoot — she won 74% of the vote — was more about what she was rather than what she could do. Electing the first black woman and the first lesbian to the office appealed to many white Chicagoans who — too late — realized their mistake.

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