Chicagoans elected Brandon Johnson, 47, a union organizer, former teacher, and Cook County Commissioner as their 57th mayor on Tuesday night.
He replaces Lori Lightfoot, whose leadership resulted in higher crime and financial challenges. Lightfoot was the first Chicago mayor in 40 years to lose her re-election bid in February. Because no one won 50% in February, the top two vote contenders advance to this runoff.
The race remained close to the very end pitting former Chicago schools CEO Paul Vallas against Brandon Johnson.
The latest poll at the end of March by Northwestern University showed both candidates tied with 44% of the overall vote with 12% undecided.
In the last days of the race, both men focused on education but with differing views.
Johnson, whose campaign was supported financially by the Chicago Teachers Union noted how he wanted to address inequalities in schools.
"I know what the disinvestment looks like," Johnson said. "As someone who sends their children to the public schools, I recognize the disparities and the inequalities that exist within our public schools."
Johnson received endorsements from the American Federation of Teachers, the Chicago Teachers Union, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and United Working Families and received endorsements from progressive Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Sanders appeared at a rally for Johnson.
Paul Vallas ran on his education platform calling for a focus on Chicago Public Schools toward communities.
"Community schools is my model," Vallas said. "What does that mean? That means you have to push the $30,000 per child that is being spent in the Chicago Public Schools down to the local communities."
Vallas had the backing of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).
The candidates raised and spent over $8 million for the mayor’s race.
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