The Associated Press called the Chicago mayoral race runoff for Brandon Johnson.
At a campaign event, opponent Paul Vallas said he called Johnson and believes Johnson will be the next mayor of Chicago.
With a 99.23% voter turnout, Johnson had a 5142% lead over Vallas, who came to 48.58%, according to early morning returns from the Chicago Board of Elections. The candidates were separated by 15,822 votes.
With more than 90,000 electronic ballots still to be returned to the Chicago Board of Elections, it was initially unclear whether Chicagoans would know by the end of the night who would be the mayor of Chicago 57.
Both candidates spent the last hours of the next major election in 40 years grabbing lunch at Manny’s Deli on Tuesday, bringing urgent meat to barricades and dodging violent storms that dumped buckets of hail on the streets of Chicago.
In addition to major competition, residents of fourteen wards across the city will vote to elect members of the New City Council, ensuring that a new era of Chicago politics is dawning.
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At Johnson’s campaign event at the Marquis Marriott near McCormick Place, cheers and applause erupted when the first-time frontrunner made a slight comeback. Supporters gathered in front of the TV showing the election results.
It wouldn’t be a Chicago party without “The Percolator” and “Cha Cha Slide,” and Johnson’s crowd was on their feet and dancing like his lead.
Former rival turned supporter Kam Buckner said of Johnson’s lead over Vallas: “He’s very exciting. We knew from this that it was going to be a close race where literally every vote was going to count.
This choice, Buckner said, “is whether we want more of the same or an antecedent for the future of Chicago.”
Johnson supporter Claire Newby, 23, said she was excited that people her age had visited the shelters today.
“When I was voting today, I mentioned my year of birth and the election judge said, ‘We’ve reached 1999 voters today,'” Newby said. “I think it’s really exciting that young people are showing up, and I really think that’s what people really want to vote for.”
Supporters were hoping that outstanding candidates on the ballot and a slight increase in the under-45 vote would pull Johnson through for future support.
“Although Chicago always likes to be a fan, based on what we know about elections and voter turnout, younger voters prefer progressive candidates,” said Stephanie Skora, a supporter of the popular progressive poll leader Girl, I Guess. “Of course it’s possible that all these yuppies voted from the 41st Ward and Walls, and that would be horrible.”
Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th Ward) said she was excited for the race to meet her “new co-worker.”
“I feel great that people in our city, from the top to the bottom, finally have the chance to live we’ve always fought for,” said Taylor.
Wallace Wilbourn Jr., a CTU school delegate, expressed concern about the power of the Johnson administration.
Wilbourn, originally from the Johnson West Side neighborhood of Austin, said it was “great to have a teacher in that position, but also as a role model, and someone who is from the West Side of Austin as well.”
When the polls closed at seven o’clock, Vallas’ official campaign began. Ald. Walter Burnett (27th Ward) was among the guests at the Regency Ballroom at the Hyatt on Wacker Drive, where supporters waited in a long line to show tickets for entry. Supporters watching the TV monitor entered the event.
Jane Brayboy, who works in crowd control in the CPS Health and Safety department, lives on the South Shore. He first met Vallas when he was the CEO of Chicago Public Schools as a parent of children in CPS.
“The safety of our children was not an issue when the CEO was the school system,” Brayboy said. “So I sit down with him when he says he’s going to make it safe. I trust him when he says he will have after school and weekend programs.
Ald. Walter Burnett (27th Ward) said he has worked with Vallas for a long time: “He gets the job done, the talk is good. He makes it happen. What people are looking for is stability.”
Burnett said he would work with Johnson if he wins, but said Johnson has a lot to learn. Burnett describes Vallas as a “numbers guy” who knows how to “get things done.”
Mike Fryzel, an attorney who lives in the city, said the outcome of the election will hinge on electronic ballots. He said that the valleys had known each other for a long time and that they had grown up in the same community.
“Everybody knew it was going to be a close election. … I don’t think anybody expected it to be this close,” Fryzel said. “He (Varlas) has the ability to catch up, but usually on election night, you don’t want to get behind.”
Theodore Bonau, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Chicago Department of Health, said he was saddened as he watched the event unfold. He supports the fence.
Bonau said he has worked under four commissioners during his time in the department. Johnson pointed out that he fired Commissioner Allison Arwady to support the cause of his Wallas decision.
The outcome of the contest between Walls, the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and Johnson, the Cook County Commissioner, is likely to be related to public health, with the rivals offering different solutions to a seemingly intractable problem.
Vallas vowed to fill as many of the vacant positions in the police department as quickly as possible, while redeploying community officers as part of the council’s plans to keep the same part of the city safe while working on a regular schedule.
Johnson promised to take a more “holistic” approach to public health, addressing the causes of crime and violence by increasing funding for youth programs and mental health services, and redirecting $150 million within the police budget, adding an additional $50 million. to prepare the institute for the reformation of the study and the court-ordered reformation.
At one point, voters were presented with a bitter race with a general election that will shape the next four years in the city to emerge from the aftermath of the peak of the covid-19 pandemic and to deal with the onslaught of crime, among the futile demands for racial justice. and economic equity.
On Election Day, Johnson carried on his shoulders the hope of a progressive movement that would oppose former Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plans to shut down a publicly run downtown mental health clinic, like 50 schools across the city.
The founder of the Chicago Teachers Union, Johnson helped create new political organizations to serve as a counterweight not only to Emanuel and his policies, but also to the Chicago business community.
The same organizations, including the United Working Families and labor unions affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, provided the bulk of Johnson’s campaign funds.
But that effort came in the wake of Emanuel’s decision in 2018 not to run for a third term and a corruption scandal that pushed Mayor Lori Lightfoot into the fifth floor of Chicago City Hall.
With Lightfoot failing to advance to Tuesday’s runoff, Johnson found himself locked in a battle with Vallas, who quickly solidified the city’s moderate and conservative voters by running on a platform that vowed to crack down on the crime and violence that fueled the city’s biggest supporters. the police union.
The billboards saw their campaign boosted by large contributions from Chicago’s wealthiest residents, who said they had witnessed the city’s rise in crime and violence and in other wealthy neighborhoods on the North Side, spurred development and the power of Chicago’s economy to grind to a halt without new Chicago growth. Police officers.
The billboard campaign was also boosted by the support of high-profile Democrats, many of whom were also aligned with former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Before running a Chicago high school, Vallas served as Daley’s finance supervisor, forming partnerships with Arne Duncan, who completed Vallas’ tenure at the helm of Chicago schools before serving as former president Barack Obama’s secretary of education.
The two candidates also clashed on the school board, to report the results of the contest between teachers’ unions and those who want to increase the number of charter schools.
Vallas is a longtime supporter of efforts to expand charter schools and backpack programs, which use public funds to pay for private school tuition. Vallas’ education platform promises to lift the cap on enrollment in “high charters” favors allowing charter schools to locate in empty or near-empty public school buildings if they “serve the neighborhood’s children” and back programs that use public money to pay for them. in private schools, according to their place.
A former teacher, Johnson’s traditional support, in the neighborhood public schools at the center of the mayor’s campaign, sent him full-throated. Johnson said he would not lift the cap on school enrollment and appoint a single person to the Chicago Board of Education until the transition to an elected board.
Whoever is elected Chicago Mayor will prioritize issues beyond public health and schools, including a progressive city council, the first legislative role in Chicago’s history as a legislative body, and an estimated short budget nearly three times the size of the city in 2013.
Read More: WTTW News Explains: What Happens to Your Ballot After You Vote?
The first option is to consider a map drawn up by City Council members to reflect the results of the 2020 census.
WTTW News reporters Heather Cherone, Amanda Vinicky, Eunice Alpasan, Nick Blumberg and Acacia Hernandez.
Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]