Johnson wins Chicago mayoral election

William Fisher, Online Editor-In-Chief

   On April 4, 2023 Brandon Johnson won the election for Chicago mayor after Paul Vallas conceded due to Johnson being the projected winner. This was the runoff election after the initial one in Feb. 28, 2023, where the incumbent Lori Lightfoot failed to get enough of the percentage of the vote to advance to the next round.

   “Chicago, tonight is just the beginning. With our voices and our votes, we have ushered in a new chapter in the history of our city…now Chicago will begin to work for its people, all the people. Because tonight is a gateway to a new future for our city. A city where you can thrive regardless of who you love or how much money you have in your bank account. A city that’s truly safer for everyone by investing in what actually works to prevent crime.” stated Johnson in a victory speech on April 5. 

   Johnson is a former teacher and has served on the board of Cook County Commissioners since 2018. He will serve as the 57th mayor of Chicago.

   “As a lifelong Chicagoan, the campaign issues are the same as they have been for years.  The candidates are polar opposites.” said Lisa Valentin, Chicago resident

   Valentin explained that Johnson was “running on safety, crime, [and] mental health resources.”  Angelica Barraza, another Chicago resident, stated Johnson had a “progressive agenda.”

   According to “The Associated Press”, with more than 95% of the votes in, Johnson won 52.1% of the vote with 311,996 votes. Vallas won 47.9% with 287,389 votes. 

   Johnson addressed Vallas’s supporters in his victory speech, “The first thing that I want to say is to the Chicagoans who did not vote for me…that I care about you. I value you, and I want to hear from you, I want to work with you, and I’ll be the mayor for you too.”

   Both sides were supported by a major Chicago union, Vallas the police and Johnson the teachers. Valentin also added that Johnson seemed to be supported by the “younger generation.” 

   Barraza explained Vallas’s background, “Politician, CEO and superintendent of many school districts” and that he would have been focused on “schools and police” if he won. 

   Valentin added that Vallas would also have been focused on “safety, [and] crime” and that his “supporters seem to be city workers, police officers, firefighters.” 

   Lightfoot is the first incumbent elected Chicago mayor to lose reelection since Jane Byrne in 1983, the city’s first female mayor. 

   Both Barraza and Valentin said that Lightfoot losing her reelection bid was not a surprise.

   Barraza explained that a major issue with Lightfoot was “her ‘my way or the highway’ mentality.” Valentin added that Lighfoot failed to keep her campaign promises and was “out of touch with the ‘common’ person.”

   Lightfoot only captured 16.9% of the vote in the first round of voting, with Johnson getting 21.63% and Vallas 32.9%. 

   Crime was the major issue on voters’ minds according to both Valentin and Barraza with Valentin also listing “safety, mental health, homelessness, job outlook” and Barraza adding “access to education, [and] taxes.”

   Johnson will begin his four year term on May 15, 2023, he ended his speech with his eagerness for the future, “It is time for Chicago to come alive…My name is Brandon Johnson, and I can’t wait to be sworn in as the next mayor of the greatest city in the world, Chicago.”