Voting in the closely watched Chicago mayoral race began Tuesday in an election that could make incumbent Lori Lightfoot the city’s first one-term mayor since 1983.
Lightfoot is running against eight challengers in the mayoral election that will determine the future leadership of the U.S.’s third-largest city.
Lightfoot’s most intense competition comes from three Democratic candidates who are positioning themselves as explicit alternatives to the mayor’s style of leadership.
Candidate Paul Vallas is a former CEO of Chicago Public Schools and budget director for the city.
Vallas has attempted to position himself as a law-and-order candidate, touting the support of Chicago police unions and admonishing the spike in crime seen under Lightfoot.
Another Chicago mayoral candidate — Brandon Johnson — currently serves on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, representing the 1st district.
Last September, the Chicago Teachers Union voted to endorse Johnson and encouraged him to get in the race. He was also endorsed by the progressive group United Working Families.
Finally, Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who represents Illinois’s 4th Congressional District, has also made his way onto the ballot after previously forcing a run-off against former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2015.
In the latest polls, Lightfoot trails Vallas by 19 points and Johnson by two. Jesus Chuy Garcia is also locked in a tight race with Lightfoot.
The controversial Chicago mayor also caught flack for her recent comments dissuading voters from heading to the polls if they were not going to cast their vote for her.
“[Voting for] somebody not named Lightfoot is a vote for Chuy Garcia or Paul Vallas,” she said at a campaign event in Grand Crossing.
“If you want them controlling your fate and your destiny, then stay home… then don’t vote,” she added.
Lightfoot later apologized, chalking up the statement up to misspeaking in the heat of a campaign rally.
Fox News’ Sarah Rumpf, Kyle Morris and Kelly Laco contributed to this report.