Chicago mayor election: Lightfoot's own poll shows her in lead, Garcia falling behind

Craig Wall Image
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Lightfoot's poll shows her leading mayor's race, followed by Vallas
Mayor Lori Lightfoot's own internal polling shows her leading the Chicago mayor's race and one of her biggest challengers, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, falling behind.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new poll in the Chicago mayor's race is giving Mayor Lori Lightfoot growing confidence about making it into the next round after the February election.

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Her own internal polling, conducted January 18 to 22, shows her leading the race with 25%, followed closely by a surging Paul Vallas at 22%. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, once considered the front runner, falls to third at 18%, followed by Willie Wilson at 11% and Brandon Johnson also on the rise at 9%. There are 10% undecided, no one else has more than 2%.

"The poll that we released today is consistent with what we've seen," Lightfoot said, "me consistently in the lead, and Chuy Garcia now dropping like a stone and Paul Vallas certainly rising. But folks, I would love to have Paul Vallas as my run-off challenger."

Lightfoot's own internal polling shows her in the lead and one of her biggest challengers falling behind.

"So I think I think it's good news to Lori Lightfoot," ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington said. "She can use this poll as a way of bolstering her credibility. Some people were beginning to wonder whether she would even get into the runoff. This sends a different message to voters and to her supporters."

The poll is also good news for Paul Vallas, confirming the one last week that also had him surging. It's perhaps a reflection of his two recent ads raising his visibility with voters.

"With three recent polls now all showing Paul Vallas surging to the lead, it's clear that our campaign has the momentum and is well positioned to make the runoff," said Vallas Campaign Chief Strategist Joe Trippi. "Chicago voters want a mayor who will put reducing crime first and it's clear that Paul Vallas is the candidate best equipped to make the city safer."

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The poll suggests that the early favorability Garcia enjoyed may be waning.

The timing also comes on the heels of a Lightfoot ad attacking Garcia for his connections to the indicted crypto chief Sam Bankman Fried and Mike Madigan, who's awaiting a federal corruption trial.

"The mayor says Chicago has become safer and that crime is down," Garcia said. "Does anyone in Chicago believe what she says? That's what I say about the poll."

Lightfoot countered, "I'm trusting what we see in the polls. But look, the only poll that actually matters is what happens on Election Day."

The mayor also took swipes at Garcia after sources told ABC7 that Garcia was the unnamed member of Congress that was mentioned in court papers released last week in the Madigan corruption case.

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"This is serious business, and it's shocking to me frankly, that the Congressman isn't taking this more seriously," Lightfoot said.

"Do I look like a worried man? Of course not," Garcia said.

Garcia said he's done nothing wrong, has not hired a defense attorney, and is not a target of the investigation.

"She is desperate," Garcia added. "She is fabricating and trying to spin things that do not exist."