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Chicago Mayoral Election Heats Up As Early Voting Begins

The race for the Chicago mayoral election is heating up as early voting begins on Monday, March 20. Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson emerged as the top two candidates out of a field of nine, with Vallas receiving 33 percent of the vote and Johnson receiving 21.57 percent of the vote.[0] Johnson, a self-proclaimed progressive, shocked some election watchers when he beat incumbent Lori Lightfoot in the first round of voting.[0]

Vallas, a conservative Democrat and former Chicago Public Schools CEO, is known for his support of school privatization.[1] Johnson, on the other hand, is a Cook County Commissioner, former public school teacher, and Chicago Teachers Union organizer.[2] He has walked back his original stance on defunding the police and now promises to keep CPD funding at current levels, while using efficiency savings to fund the addition of 200 detectives.

The two candidates have been picking up endorsements in the leadup to the election.[3] Johnson has the support of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as other progressive organizations.[4] Vallas has received endorsements from a number of alderpeople, including Alds. Michelle Harris (8th), Anthony Beale (9th), David Moore (17th), Derrick Curtis (18th) and Emma Mitts (37th).[5] He has also been backed by former mayoral candidates Ja’Mal Green, Willie Wilson and Ald.[3] Roderick Sawyer is the sixth[6]

In addition, former mayoral candidate Kam Buckner has endorsed Johnson and U.S. Representative Jesús “Chuy” García has endorsed Johnson, citing their shared vision for the city.[7]

Vallas has a history of controversial decisions during his time as a schools CEO.[8] He left Chicago Public Schools with a deficit and increased charter schools while in Philadelphia.[9] He also oversaw the Recovery School District in New Orleans and was head of Bridgeport Public Schools in Connecticut.[9]

The candidates met for a televised debate on Thursday night hosted by ABC 7 in partnership with the League of Women Voters and Univision. Early voting for the runoff election begins Monday, March 20, with the election taking place on April 4.[10] It is up to the voters of Chicago to decide who will be the next mayor of the city.

0. “Top House Democrat Jim Clyburn Endorses Brandon Johnson For Chicago Mayor” HuffPost, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/jim-clyburn-endorsement-brandon-johnson-chicago_n_6412430ee4b0a3902d2e79d1

1. “Paul Vallas Rakes in Big Bucks From Real Estate for Runoff” The Real Deal, 16 Mar. 2023, https://therealdeal.com/chicago/2023/03/16/vallas-rakes-in-real-estate-bucks-ahead-of-runoff/

2. “Chicago mayoral debate: Johnson and Vallas clash over policing” CNN, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/16/politics/chicago-mayor-debate/index.html

3. “Bernie Sanders Endorses Brandon Johnson In Chicago Mayor's Race” Block Club Chicago, 16 Mar. 2023, https://blockclubchicago.org/2023/03/16/bernie-sanders-endorses-brandon-johnson-in-chicago-mayors-race

4. “Vallas vs. Johnson: An Updated Endorsement Guide to the 2023 Chicago Mayoral Election” NBC Chicago, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/chicago-politics/vallas-vs-johnson-an-updated-endorsement-guide-to-the-2023-chicago-mayoral-election/3096266

5. “Garcia backing Johnson for Chicago mayor – POLITICO” POLITICO, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/illinois-playbook/2023/03/17/garcia-backing-johnson-for-chicago-mayor-00087591

6. “Chicago mayoral poll reveals frontrunner ahead of runoff election” FOX 32 Chicago, 12 Mar. 2023, https://www.fox32chicago.com/election/chicago-mayoral-poll-runoff

7. “‘Chuy' García endorses ex-rival Brandon Johnson for mayor, aiming to lock down progressive vote against Paul Vallas” Chicago Tribune, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/elections/ct-chuy-garcia-endorses-brandon-johnson-chicago-mayor-20230317-fob7k5q6pjcz3jcfrnen5suxze-story.html

8. “Chicago mayoral debate turns heated as Paul Vallas, Brandon Johnson discuss public safety, budgets, education, other major issues” WLS-TV, 17 Mar. 2023, https://abc7chicago.com/chicago-mayoral-debate-brandon-johnson-paul-vallas-election/12965528/

9. “Tempers Flare As Supporters Of Mayoral Candidates Clash Over Paul Vallas' Education Record” Block Club Chicago, 17 Mar. 2023, https://blockclubchicago.org/2023/03/17/tempers-flare-as-mayoral-candidate-supporters-clash-over-paul-vallas-record-overseeing-city-schools/

10. “Jesús ‘Chuy' García endorses Brandon Johnson for Chicago mayor” CBS Chicago, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/chicago/news/jesus-chuy-garcia-endorses-brandon-johnson/

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