Reasonable Paul Vallas vs. progressive Brandon Johnson for Chicago mayor

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Voters in Chicago will select a brand new mayor on Tuesday as two candidates with contrasting views on points together with crime, taxes, faculties and funding in policing compete to guide the closely Democratic metropolis, the nation’s third-largest.

The race pits former Chicago faculties CEO Paul Vallas, a reasonable Democrat endorsed by Chicago’s police union and main enterprise teams, towards progressive Brandon Johnson, a former trainer and union organizer backed by the Chicago Lecturers Union. Each males finished ahead of present Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a February election, making her the primary incumbent in 40 years to hunt reelection within the metropolis and lose.

The highest two vote-getters within the all-Democrat however formally nonpartisan race moved to the Tuesday runoff as a result of no candidate obtained over 50% of the vote.

The competition has centered on the increase in violent crime in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and soaring property taxes. Nevertheless it additionally may have implications for Democrats nationally forward of different elections, together with mayoral races in cities reminiscent of Philadelphia and Houston. For each progressives and the social gathering’s extra reasonable wing, the Chicago race is seen as a take a look at of organizing energy and messaging, particularly with points salient to massive cities, like crime and alignment with regulation enforcement unions.

Vallas has repeatedly attacked Johnson for previous feedback in assist of defunding police, which Johnson says he wouldn’t do as mayor. Nonetheless, Vallas — who desires to rent tons of extra officers — says the largest high quality dividing the candidates is expertise. The previous Chicago finances director, who took over troubled faculties in Chicago and elsewhere, says his background will probably be important for a metropolis rising from the pandemic with policing and financial crises.

“That is no time for on-the-job coaching,” Vallas stated. “That is no time for somebody who has no specifics who actually can’t reply questions in a substantive method.”

Johnson, in flip, has argued Vallas, who has run for workplace a number of instances as a Democrat, is simply too right-wing to guide Chicago. He famous a few of his main donors have additionally supported Republicans, together with Donald Trump, and that the controversial head of the police union has defended Jan. 6 insurrectionists. Throughout a rally late final week with Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont unbiased and progressive standard-bearer, he described his opponent as a part of the extremist proper and different “grasping profiteers.”

“Whenever you take {dollars} from Trump supporters and attempt to solid your self as a part of the progressive motion — man, sit down,” Johnson stated earlier than main a crowd of a number of thousand gathered for the rally in chanting “Paul Vallas, sit.”

Alfred Emerson, 30, who works in industrial actual property, stated Tuesday that he voted for Vallas.

“We want a brand new mayor who’s going to care for crime in our metropolis. I believe that’s extra essential than something,” Emerson stated.

Keegan Phillips, 28, who works in advertising, voted for Johnson, saying crucial points to him embody financial improvement and neighborhood security.

“I felt like his expertise as a trainer and as a public servant is essential to me in main the town,” Phillips stated.

Each candidates have deep roots within the Democratic Get together, although with vastly totally different backgrounds.

Johnson, who’s Black, grew up poor and is now elevating his youngsters in one among Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods. After educating center and highschool, he helped mobilize academics, together with throughout a historic 2012 strike, by means of which the Chicago Lecturers Union turned extremely influential in metropolis politics.

The 47-year-old says that as an alternative of investing extra in policing and incarceration, the town ought to deal with psychological well being therapy, inexpensive housing for all and jobs for youth. He has proposed a plan he says will elevate $800 million by taxing “ultrarich” people and companies, together with a per-employee “head tax” on employers and an extra tax on resort room stays. Vallas says that so-called “tax-the-rich” plan could be a catastrophe for the town’s recovering financial system.

Vallas, who completed in first place within the February election, was the one white candidate in that nine-person subject. The 69-year-old was endorsed by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, in addition to the native Chamber of Commerce. The grandson of Greek immigrants, he grew up working in household eating places. He has two sons who’ve labored as law enforcement officials, one among whom is now a firefighter.

After working as finances director beneath then-Mayor Richard M. Daley, Vallas was appointed to take over Chicago Public Colleges. He then went on to guide districts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and in Philadelphia and Bridgeport, Connecticut. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2019.

This election, he has targeted closely on easy methods to enhance morale amongst officers — Vallas was a marketing consultant for the union throughout its negotiations with Lightfoot’s Metropolis Corridor — and stated he would promote a brand new police superintendent from throughout the division’s ranks.


Related Press journalist Teresa Crawford contributed.

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