Lori Lightfoot

2023 Chicago Mayoral Race: Who's In, Who's Out, and Who Might Run


The Chicago mayoral race is slowly beginning to take shape, with two key contenders coming to opposing conclusions on Thursday.

Current Mayor Lori Lightfoot has not officially announced her candidacy for the position, but she told the Chicago Sun-Times that she does plan to run for a second term after defeating Toni Preckwinkle for the job in the last election.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Quigley announced on Thursday that he does not intend to run in 2023, and will instead continue serving in Congress.

Here is what we know about the race so far:

Officially Running –

Ald. Raymond Lopez

Lopez officially launched his candidacy for the mayoral race on April 7, calling the city a “rudderless ship” in need of new leadership.

“The time is now to provide our great city with the compassion and leadership it deserves. I’m in, and I hope Chicago will join me,” he said in a statement.

Dr. Willie Wilson

For the third time, businessman and philanthropist Dr. Willie Wilson will throw his hat into the ring and run for the job of mayor.

He says he will bring some big changes to the city if elected, including hiring several police superintendents to deal with violent crime and eliminating the city’s COVID vaccine mandate for employees.

“You’ve got to talk to people. You’ve got to communicate,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times in criticizing Lightfoot’s leadership style. “There’s no communication (with Lightfoot) unless it’s negative. If it doesn’t go her way, she takes it personally.”

With a burst of good will generated by his $1.2 million gas giveaways, millionaire businessman Willie Wilson on Monday joined the race to send Mayor Lori Lightfoot into political retirement. NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern reports.

Expected to Run –

Mayor Lori Lightfoot

While the mayor has not formally announced that she will run for reelection, she has been raising funds to do so and told the Chicago Sun-Times that she will seek a second term in office.

“I’m giving you every indication of what the future is going to hold,” she told the newspaper. “The question is just formally announcing it. And we will do that soon.”

Fraternal Board of Police President John Catanzara announced plans to potentially run for mayor in 2023, and said his resignation would deprive Lightfoot of the chance to say that she had fired him from the department. “Let him run,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot commenting on the announcement.

Possibly Running –

FOP President John Catanzara

After he retired from his job as a Chicago police officer rather than allowing a police board to potentially fire him, Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara said that he would run for mayor, but has not officially filed to do so.

“I’m officially running for mayor. Lightfoot has got to go. It’s gotta happen,” he said in Nov. 2021.

VP of CTU Stacy Davis Gates

Davis Gates, currently the vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, is expected to run for president of that union with Jesse Sharkey departing the position, but could potentially mull a run for mayor as well, according to reports.

CTU President Jesse Sharkey

Sharkey, who has sparred with Lightfoot on a variety of fronts, will not seek reelection to his role as president of the teachers’ union, but hasn’t said whether he’ll challenge Lightfoot in the mayoral race.

“I’m going to be involved in the city’s politics, in general and the union in particular,” he said when asked in Feb. 2022.

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the highest-profile potential candidate to make a run at unseating Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, will not jump into the race, announcing Tuesday that he will instead focus on working with his non-profit. NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern breaks down what it means for the race.

Not Running –

Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

In early March, Arne Duncan announced that he would not run for mayor of Chicago, and would instead focus his efforts on working with his non-profit organization.

“The best way I can serve our city is to stay laser-focused on reducing gun violence and stay engaged at our sites, on the streets and in the lives of our participants,” he said.

Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia

While he hasn’t officially ruled himself out yet, there aren’t any current indications that former mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia would run for the position.

“I am not thinking about that whatsoever, and I surely haven’t talked to my wife about it,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I’ve got to think that she’d be very reluctant for us to do it, and we do everything together. It’s not on my radar right now.”

Garcia lost to former Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the 2015 election.

Rep. Mike Quigley

Quigley was the latest candidate to bow out of the race, saying that he is too focused on his work in Congress to consider jumping into the electoral fracas.

“After much consideration, I simply cannot walk away from my duty to safeguard democracy, fight for American values abroad, and stand up for the brave Ukrainian people in their time of maximum peril,” he said in a statement. “Campaigning to serve as mayor of Chicago would not allow me to fulfill this critical obligation.”

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