Chicago Picks Progressive to Take On School Privatizer in Mayoral Runoff

Chicago voters rejected Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s bid for a second time period on Tuesday, elevating progressive Cook dinner County Commissioner Brandon Johnson to face conservative candidate Paul Vallas — an ardent school privatization advocate — in an April 4 runoff.

Johnson, a longtime educator and organizer, superior to the runoff with roughly 20% of the vote after a grassroots marketing campaign centered on increasing sources for Chicago’s public colleges and taxing the rich to spice up reasonably priced housing, public transportation, healthcare, and different priorities.

“In the present day, we’re on the verge of making a brand new Chicago,” Stacy Davis Gates, president of the Chicago Academics Union, stated in a statement applauding Johnson’s marketing campaign. “It’s a Chicago for the numerous, not the few — a metropolis the place the unhoused can entry reasonably priced and sustainable housing, the place our public colleges are totally funded and supply the assist college students want, and the place our younger individuals can play in secure, welcoming, and thriving communities.”

Vallas, although, is seen as the frontrunner, having obtained 34% of the vote on Tuesday in his second bid for mayor.

U.S. Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-Ailing.) obtained lower than 14% of the vote in Tuesday’s contest, beneath Lightfoot’s 17%.

The previous CEO of Chicago Public Faculties, Vallas is a longtime proponent of college privatization, having expanded constitution colleges and different privatization schemes in his dwelling metropolis in addition to in Philadelphia and post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans.

Removed from shying away from his file — which has drawn vocal criticism from lawmakers and officers from the areas the place he’s attacked public colleges — Vallas has pledged to build on it if elected mayor of Chicago.

Maurice Mitchell, nationwide director of the Working Households Get together — which is backing Johnson — stated late Tuesday that “the distinction on this runoff couldn’t be clearer.”

“In a single nook, we now have a classroom trainer and union organizer with deep group roots,” stated Mitchell. “Within the different nook, we now have conservative Paul Vallas, who’s backed by the Trump-supporting Fraternal Order of Police and has by no means come throughout a public faculty he didn’t wish to intestine.”

Following Tuesday’s vote, Johnson — who has described his opponent’s method to schooling as “morally bankrupt” — tweeted that “if tonight is proof of something, it’s proof that something is feasible.”

“It’s proof that we are able to construct a Chicago as huge and beneficiant as its promise,” he continued. “And it’s proof that Metropolis Corridor can really belong to the individuals. Tonight is just the start. Thanks, Chicago.”

To defeat Vallas, Johnson must overcome a probable torrent of opposition spending from darkish cash organizations which have taken an curiosity within the race to steer the USA’ third-largest metropolis.

Because the Chicago Tribune reported final month, teams spent “tons of of 1000’s of {dollars} within the remaining weeks of the race for mayor” whereas “hiding the place that cash is coming from.”

One darkish cash group, the Chicago Management Committee, has “spent greater than $165,000 on TV and digital adverts for Vallas’ mayoral bid,” the Tribune reported.

“There’s no query much more darkish cash will flood this election within the coming weeks,” Mitchell warned. “The appropriate wing sees our motion gaining momentum and can do every thing attainable to cease us. However tonight is extra proof that organized individuals can beat organized cash. Brandon Johnson has at all times had the backs of working households, and in April, we’ll have his.”

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