Chicago mayoral race: Brandon Johnson defeats Paul Vallas in runoff election

Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson
Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson are the two mayoral candidates facing off in the runoff election on April 4. (AP)

Chicago mayoral race: Brandon Johnson defeats Paul Vallas in runoff election

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Brandon Johnson defeated Paul Vallas in the highly contentious 2023 Chicago mayoral runoff election, taking the mantle from incumbent Lori Lightfoot and bringing an end to the battle between Democrats in the city.

Johnson will become the fourth black mayor of Chicago, following Harold Washington, who served as mayor from 1983 to 1987, Eugene Sawyer, who served from 1987 to 1989, and Lightfoot, who became the city’s first black female mayor in 2019.

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Johnson defeated Vallas 51.42% to 48.58% with 99% of precincts reporting. At the end of Election Day, there were over 555,000 total ballots cast.

The newly-elected Democratic mayor ran on a more progressive platform than Vallas. He advocated for comprehensive reform at all levels, hoping to bolster communities through improvements in mental health services, affordable housing, and education. He also put focus on promoting detectives to combat the city’s rising crime rates.

Johnson was endorsed by several national lawmakers, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), as well as the Chicago Teachers Union, which donated millions to his campaign. He defied several polls taken prior to the election that showed Vallas with a slight but steady lead over Johnson.

His win will set the Democratic-controlled city on a slightly more progressive path than in previous years. A win for Vallas would have seen stricter policing methods and a more fiscal approach to the city’s declining education rates.

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Johnson will have to work hard to collaborate with police officers and unions, which overwhelmingly backed Vallas in the mayoral race and openly criticized Johnson’s approaches to the criminal justice system.

Early voting numbers were high for the runoff election, with Chicago voters casting 292,591 ballots before Election Day, including early voting and mail-in ballots.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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