Democrat Brandon Johnson is elected as Chicago’s new mayor: Former union organizer WINS tight race after calling for new taxes and more social programs in country’s third-largest city 

  • Chicago has elected  a liberal community organizer with a progressive approach to crime as the city’s new mayor
  • Brandon Johnson defeated police-backed candidate Paul Vallas by around 13,000 votes
  • Johnson has proposed raising $80 million by taxing the city’s wealthy 

A liberal community activist and union organizer with a progressive approach to crime was elected as Chicago‘s new mayor following a nail biting tallying of votes in the Windy City on Tuesday.

Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, 47, was declared as the city’s new mayor after defeating fellow candidate Paul Vallas, 69, who had the backing of Chicago’s police union, by around 13,000 votes. 

Vallas had called for more police on the streets in the city to tackle the crime epidemic that continues to thrive in the nation’s third largest city. Meanwhile, Johnson said he would invest in youth summer employment programs for at-risk youth and spend more on mental health treatment. 

Like many U.S. cities, Chicago saw violent crime increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, hitting a 25-year high of 797 homicides in 2021, though the number decreased last year and the city has a lower murder rate than others in the Midwest, such as St. Louis. 

During the campaign, Johnson called for $80 million more to be raised by the city by taxing the wealthy. He has also called for a freeze in property taxes. Vallas, who had strong support from the business community, said the tax plan would be disastrous for Chicago’s economy.   

Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner and an organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union, was declared the new mayor of the Windy City on Tuesday night

Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner and an organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union, was declared the new mayor of the Windy City on Tuesday night

The tough on crime candidate, Paul Vallas, 69, a former public schools chief in the Windy City and Philadelphia who ran unsuccessfully for Chicago mayor in 2019

The tough on crime candidate, Paul Vallas, 69, a former public schools chief in the Windy City and Philadelphia who ran unsuccessfully for Chicago mayor in 2019

The two faced off after after incumbent Lori Lightfoot finished third out of nine candidates in the previous round when no one managed to cross the 50 percent line in March’s election. 

The Chicago race is technically non-partisan, but every candidate identifies as a Democrat in the heavily left-leaning city.

Polls showed public safety is by far the top concern among residents of the third-largest US city.

Former President Barack Obama’s chief strategist David Axelrod described the race between Vallas and Johnson as the battle between the ‘candidate of the Fraternal Order of Police’ and the ‘candidate of the Chicago Teachers Union,’ reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Axelrod described Vallas’ campaign as ‘brilliant’ and ‘disciplined’ thanks his being ‘monomaniacal’ on the issue of violent crime.

‘[Johnson] is the candidate of the Chicago Teachers Union and, if he is elected, he will owe it to the Chicago Teachers Union. … The question is, do you want a mayor who is entirely beholden to the union,’ Axelrod added in his interview.

Vallas’ rivals sought to paint him as a Republican thanks to his endorsement from the city’s confrontational police union.

Just last week the same union hosted likely GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis at an event in Illinois, reports ABC Chicago.

‘I wholeheartedly agree with Governor Pritzker that there is simply no place in Chicago for a right-wing extremist like Ron DeSantis, and I am disappointed in FOP leadership for inviting him to speak to officers,’ Vallas said in distancing himself from the Florida governor.

Lightfoot had blasted him for welcoming support from the police union’s controversial leader, who defended the Jan. 6 insurrectionists at the Capitol and equated Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate for city workers to the Holocaust.

The 2023 campaign has tested Democratic messaging on policing in the U.S., three years after widespread protests following the police murder of George Floyd and months after Republicans sought to bludgeon Democrats over the issue in the 2022 midterm elections.



DailyMail

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