Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Top Opponent, Alderman Ray Lopez, Announces Bid for Mayor

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 16: Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot arrives at Wrigley Field on Apr
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

One of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s loudest critics, Alderman Raymond Lopez, announced on Wednesday that he is running for mayor of the Windy City next year.

The alderman, who has led the 15th Ward since 2015, has become the first official 2023 opponent to announce a bid to replace Lightfoot at City Hall.

During his announcement, Lopez told the city. “Chicago, I’m in!”

“I love my City, and, like most Chicagoans, I am sick and tired of watching Chicago flounder at the hands of a rudderless ship,” Lopez added, according to ABC 7. “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.”

If elected, the two-term representative of the Back of the Yards neighborhood would be the first Hispanic and the second openly gay chief executive to lead the city.

As Lightfoot’s most vocal critic, Lopez has earned a lot of media attention and is a sought-after voice among Chicago’s political reporters.

However, Lopez faces long odds. He has still not raised the millions of dollars that analysts expect he will need to mount a campaign against Lightfoot, not to mention that no sitting alderman has ever been successfully elected to the Mayor’s office.

Lopez will also have to give up his current seat, as city rules maintain that a sitting alderman cannot run for reelection to the City Council and run for Mayor at the same time, Block Club Chicago notes.

A life-long Chicagoan who worked as a Skycap for Southwest Airlines before being elected to the City Council, Lopez has earned a reputation as being tough on crime and is a critic of Lightfoot’s failed efforts to get the city’s violence under control.

Lopez told the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday:

Our residents do not feel safe. People who work here don’t feel safe. Visitors and tourism is on the decline because they see the perception of Chicago being the Wild West of the Midwest. We must correct that, and we must do it now. We can’t have continued stories of smash-and-grabs, carjackings, lootings, and 12-year-olds doing crime in Chicago and act like that’s normal.

I have taken on gangs and the magnets of violence head-on in my communities. I have worked with local police to inspire men and women who put on that uniform to do the right thing every day and to build those relationships with our community. And that is something that can be replicated throughout Chicago in a sustained way that will return safety to our neighborhoods. We have to right this ship now.

Lopez also said that one of his first acts would be to fire current Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, who Lopez calls a “failure.”

“This is the same superintendent who thought it was wise to dismantle the gang tactical units, only to try and reinstitute them after he realized that shootings and other stats were skyrocketing,” Lopez exclaimed as he promised to stop the exodus of valued, veteran police officers.

Lopez has also opposed Lightfoot’s vaccine policy and blasted Lightfoot for her tepid response to the rioting that rocked the city in 2020.

In December, for instance, he blasted Lightfoot for worrying more about her COVID policy than a city awash in blood and violence. “More children have been victimized by gun violence in the city of Chicago than have been killed by COVID in the entire state of Illinois in the last year. And yet we still talk more about COVID than we do gun violence,” he told Fox News.

Among the other spats between Lightfoot and Lopez, in 2020, Lopez confronted Lightfoot over the mayor’s weak response to the Black Lives Matter riots that rocked the city. Lopez’s opposition to the mayor’s policies earned him an expletive-laden rant from the mayor during a conference call held between the mayor and members of the City Council.

In his announcement interviews, the alderman also pledged to be a straight shooter.

“I’m a man of conviction. I’m a man who stands up for what he believes in — even when it’s unpopular. Even when it’s unsafe. That’s the kind of mayor Chicago needs right now. Someone who’s willing to stand up for something. Not a panderer,” he said.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at:


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.