Chicago Ald. King announces run for mayor: 'you shouldn't have to live like this'

With a thinly veiled shot at the management style of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a South Side City Council member announced her candidacy Wednesday.

"I’m Sophia King and I’m running for mayor because we need more collaboration, not confrontation," the alderwoman said.

King's pre-recorded announcement video focused on the killings and shootings that have jumped by 35% since 2019, when Lightfoot became mayor.

"Bullet holes in the window, the residents afraid. You shouldn't have to live like this," King said in the video.


Born in Colorado and raised in north suburban Evanston, King was appointed to the City Council by then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel. King and her husband are longtime friends of Barack and Michelle Obama. Though the Obamas have not made many formal endorsements here, that hasn't stopped candidates such as Alexi Giannoulias from successfully featuring the former president in his campaign for Secretary of State.

"Violence is not an abstract problem to me. I have seen the pain it causes way too many times. There's no question about it. We have to hold the people who commit violent crimes accountable, and we have to hold our leaders accountable too," King in the video.

King chairs the council's Progressive Caucus, and while she becomes Lightfoot’s eighth announced challenger, King is the first woman to join the field.

Lightfoot famously complained that "99 percent" of the criticism she faces comes because she's a woman and Black.

"People are gonna jump in. It's the silly season. It's going to happen," Lightfoot said.

Some of her challengers take offense at Lightfoot’s repeated suggestion they're "silly."

"What's silly is that we went through much of this summer without being able to open up our swimming pools because we couldn't find lifeguards," said State Rep. Kam Buckner, a candidate for mayor

"Chicago today stands as the highest property tax, the highest sales tax, the highest fine and the highest fee city," said former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, also a candidate for mayor.

There may well be several additional candidates who jump in by the late November filing deadline.

Other contenders looking to unseat Lightfoot include Southwest Side Ald. Raymond Lopez, South Side Ald. Roderick Sawyer, community activist Ja’Mal Green, and businessman Willie Wilson.

Lightfoot was first elected in 2019. After getting just 17% in the first round, she swept all 50 of Chicago’s wards as a political outsider and reform candidate.

The first round of voting for mayor is February 28th. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent, the two top finishers compete in a runoff election on April 4th.