Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, D, told South Side voters they should not vote at all if they do not vote to re-elect her, but she now insists that she misspoke during the heat of the moment.
During a campaign event over the weekend in Grand Crossing, the mayor said anyone from the South Side voting for “somebody not named Lightfoot is a vote for Chuy Garcia or Paul Vallas,” referring to her challengers.
U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas are the other frontrunners in the election for Chicago mayor.
“If you want them controlling your fate and your destiny, then stay home,” Lightfoot continued. “Then don’t vote.”
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But after casting her vote Monday at Northeastern Illinois University, Lightfoot told reporters she did not mean to suggest voters should sit out the election.
“If I said anything other than everybody everywhere needs to vote, then I misspoke in the heat of a campaign rally,” she said. “But I’ve been very consistent all along saying everybody everywhere needs to step up, and they need to vote just as I said today.”
Lightfoot’s initial comments, however, drew criticism from her mayoral opponents who accused her of damaging the democratic process.
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“This is disqualifying rhetoric for anyone hoping to lead a Chicago that is a multi-racial and multi-ethnic city,” Garcia said, according to FOX 32.
Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, who is also running to become the next mayor of Chicago, said residents deserve “real leadership” and are ready to “turn the page” with the election of a new mayor.
“Lori Lightfoot telling residents not to vote unless they vote for her shows that she cares more about maintaining power for herself than empowering communities or getting things done for the people of our city,” he said.
Another challenger, philanthropist Willie Wilson, said Lightfoot’s words were “delusional, divisive, dangerous and disappointing.”
Activist Ja’Mal Green, another mayoral candidate, wrote on Twitter that Lightfoot’s “desperation was showing.”
“I just showed this to a bus load of new voters & the video made them more motivated than ever to vote against Lightfoot today,” he wrote.