Brandon Johnson has defeated Paul Vallas to become the next mayor of Chicago, the Associated Press has declared.
In an extremely close race, Johnson, a Cook County commissioner and Chicago Teachers Union organizer, squeaked out a stunning victory over Vallas, a former Chicago Public Schools CEO.
Johnson, 47, had emerged as the most popular progressive among the initial nine candidates, then bested the more conservative Vallas in the runoff to take Chicago’s top elected office Tuesday.
With a campaign was bankrolled largely by political funds tied to CTU and affiliated unions, Johnson focused his run around themes of equity, championing working people and addressing the root causes of crime. He spoke regularly about “investing in people,” and his platform includes new taxes that he says will mostly affect wealthier people, such as a higher real estate transfer tax on properties worth more than $1 million.
Johnson has also pitched a head tax on Chicago employers, a levy on financial transactions and a jet fuel tax, and proposed raising the hotel tax. Some of these would require a change of state law.
He has vowed not to increase property taxes.
The night’s results capped a remarkable ascent for Johnson. With just four years of legislative experience under his belt, he was criticized by incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot in late January when she sneered, “God bless. Brandon Johnson isn’t going to be the mayor of this city,” the news outlet Semafor reported.
The comment echoed a remark Rahm Emanuel made in September 2018, when he dropped his reelection bid and told WGN his replacement was not yet in the race.
Lightfoot proved Emanuel wrong then, just as Johnson proved her wrong Tuesday.
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April 4, 2023 at 09:38PM