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Early in fall 2022, my hopes and dreams of Mayor Lori Lightfoot being unseated, and becoming a “one and done” Chicago mayor, were a real possibility.

As one of her first public supporters in 2019, I had no idea she would be this disagreeable and lead this city like a federal prosecutor — which was her previous job title.

I also had no idea that she would become “Turncoat Lori” once in office. Bold follow-through is uncommon in American politics, but it is important in a city where she won more than 2,000 precincts in her run-off election against Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Campaign-trail Lightfoot presented some strong positions, but then reneged on those promises in office.

Campaign-trail Lightfoot:

  • Promised to halt the Lincoln Yards Project — but the $6 billion project is set to break ground by summer 2023.
  • Supported an elected school board — but later backtracked and pushed for a hybrid board.
  • Touted a proposal to increase the Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) on higher-priced  property sales to pay for programs that reduce homelessness and expand affordable  housing — but later dismissed the idea in its current form as a viable solution to homelessness.


As a result of this contentious leadership, I believed Lightfoot was in jeopardy of being a one-term mayor — until Nov. 10, 2022, when U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL) officially joined the crowded race for Chicago mayor. 

Chuy entering the race literally opened the door for a Mayor Lightfoot reelection. Chuy entered the race as the only Mexican-American candidate, but also as a “Progressive Democrat,” much like Kam Buckner and Brandon Johnson who both announced their candidacies before Chuy. This will most certainly split the progressive Black vote and shine a light — no pun intended — on how unique Mayor Lighfoot is to the ballot.

Brandon Johnson, currently a Cook County Board Commissioner, is someone everyone should be watching. Optics matter in politics and he checks all the boxes: family man, political and community organizing experience, backed by respected Black and brown progressives in the City Council and he even knocked off a major West Side politician — Richard Boykin, who currently works for Willie Wilson’s 2023 mayoral campaign — to become commissioner in 2018. 

On paper, Johnson looks pretty good; I just don’t know if he has time for the city of Chicago to get to know him before Feb. 28, 2023. However, he’s already raised more than $1 million for his campaign — raising money is always good optics.

It’s too early to call but I’m predicting a few things that could happen in the 2023 Chicago mayoral race:

  • Lightfoot will do and use whatever she can to win; even if it means shining the wrong “light” on her reelection campaign. This CPS email “mistake” opens the entire mayoral race up. 
  • The bribe from Willie Wilson’s political consultant Rickey Hendon and a volunteer for Ja’Mal Green’s campaign that was captured on recorded audio will cost Wilson a spot in the run-off. He previously had a good chance because he won the Black vote in the February 2019 Chicago mayoral election.
  • Brandon Johnson is a dark horse who can run away with the whole thing if he raises the bread and has a plan for the business community. His campaign will have to be on steroids to achieve this. 
  • If Johnson is successful in his appeal to the business community, he could land in the runoff against Lightfoot or Chuy.
  • If Johnson is not successful in his appeal to the business community, Chuy will split the progressive Black vote and land in the runoff against Lightfoot, in which Lightfoot will win reelection.


Again, it’s too early to call, but, as the saying goes, “if you want to be the champ, you’ve got to beat the champ.” Chuy entering the race made the incumbent harder to beat, but Lightfoot has to make sure she doesn’t do anything else to beat herself up.

provides leadership addressing the social issues plaguing the city of Chicago in the areas of Economics, Violence, & Education Equality. He is the author of Leave No Potential On The Table: Your Best Contribution to the World. You can follow him on Instagram (@iamtimjones) and his website (