Surging crime and the exodus of major corporations, including Boeing, Caterpillar, Tyson Foods, Citadel and McDonald’s, led to the failed bid by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for reelection.
Major high-end retailers have also fled Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and other popular shopping locations under Lightfoot’s watch.
Magnificent Mile Migration
Lightfoot was the first Windy City mayor in 40 years to lose reelection in Tuesday’s primary, after murders in Chicago reached a 25-year high in 2021, surpassing New York and Los Angeles.
Voters’ rebuke of the first Black woman and first openly gay person to lead Chicago was due to the city’s crime and deterioration, not her identity, according to leading conservatives.
Since Lightfoot’s term began, there were 2,278 homicides and more than 9,000 shootings in Chicago, noted conservative radio host Larry Elder. Year-to-date in 2023, Chicago has already had 41 murders and 194 shootings, Elder adds.
Looting followed Chicago’s COVID-19 lockdowns, and the continuing rise in crime has been very destructive for Chicago, notes radio host William Kelly.
Both pundits point out that mayoral incumbents in major U.S. cities tend to win reelection — and maintain that the departure of major corporations from Chicago is significant.
Boeing was the first major company to move its global headquarters from the city to Arlington, Virginia, with its announcement in May 2022. Caterpillar announced its departure a month later, with its new headquarters in Irving, Texas.
Citadel hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin revealed in June 2022 he was moving his company to Miami and New York, specifically citing crime and the safety of his employees and himself as the reason why.
A number of Citadel executives were mugged at gunpoint in Chicago, one was stabbed on the way to work, and several had their homes burglarized.
More personally, Griffin told the Economic Club of Chicago criminals sprayed bullets into the lobby window of his $59 million condo, and thugs tried to car-jack the security detail parked outside his house.
“That’s a really difficult backdrop with which to draw talent to your city from,” Griffin said.
In September, McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said the restaurant chain giant was having difficultly recruiting people to its Chicago headquarters, noting that many large companies were increasingly moving from the city because of crime.
Lightfoot rebuffed Kempczinski’s concerns, saying, “I think what would have been helpful is for the McDonald’s CEO to educate himself before he spoke.”
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