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Crime An Issue As Chicago's Lightfoot Faces Eight Challengers

With the clock winding down on Chicago’s municipal election, the field of nine mayoral candidates fanned out across the city to win over voters. The late-stage political ground game before the polls close Tuesday sent City Hall hopefuls to bistros, bars, bungalows, bus stops and beyond, but not before church, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Nearly every candidate started their run into the home stretch at a house of worship. That was true of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, whose political prayers for a second term could depend on winning over voters in majority-Black wards on the South and West sides. Lightfoot visited two churches, stopped for dozens of photos with supporters and warned them against falling for “false prophets” on the campaign trail. With several polls showing her in a statistical dead heat that could prevent the incumbent from even advancing to the April runoff, she remained on the attack Sunday as much as she ever was during her first run. “Don’t tell me, Paul Vallas, that you have an answer to solve this [crime] problem, because you don’t have an answer,” Lightfoot said. “You don’t have any experience, but you’re good at stoking people’s fears.”

In this election, Chicagoans will also have their first opportunity to vote on ordinary citizen candidates for 22 new police district councils, according to Bolts. “This is the first time in the history of Chicago and in the history of the United States that Black and brown people have been given a democratic option to say who polices their communities and how their communities are policed,” activist Frank Chapman said of the new police oversight body. These councils represent Chicago’s boldest attempt to give residents direct input over policing practices. Councils will hold forums and monthly public meetings to hear residents’ concerns and discuss topics like police interactions with youth and undocumented residents, community policing, and restorative justice initiatives. In the mayoral contest, candidate Brandon Johnson said he would address the root causes of crime: “When people talk about holding criminals ... accountable, what we should start with is how do we hold the systems accountable first,” he said. Businessman Willie Wilson spent the days leading up to the election canvassing African American churches. Wilson said his campaign focused mostly on crime, supporting police officers and reducing taxes.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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