Brandon Johnson delivers progressive victory in Chicago mayoral runoff

Chicago, Illinois - Brandon Johnson pulled out a major progressive election victory after defeating Paul Vallas to become the next mayor of Chicago.

Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson celebrates victory in Tuesday's Chicago mayoral runoff election.
Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson celebrates victory in Tuesday's Chicago mayoral runoff election.  © ALEX WROBLEWSKI / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Brandon Johnson got 51.4% of the vote, while Paul Vallas got 48.6%, in the tight race called by the Associated Press.

Johnson (47), a Cook County Commissioner and Chicago Teachers Union organizer, advocated strengthening the public education system, expanding affordable and public housing options, raising taxes for the wealthy and businesses, and investing in social and mental health services rather than increasing police department funding. He had received endorsements from a host of labor unions, progressive organizations, and elected officials, including Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Chicago schools CEO and charter school proponent Paul Vallas (69) had the backing of the city's main police union and vowed to increase budgets for law enforcement and hire hundreds more officers. In a 2009 talk show appearance, he described himself as "more of a Republican than a Democrat."

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The two candidates advanced to Tuesday's runoff after neither got enough votes to win the crowded February primary outright. Incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot was one of the casualties of that contest.

"Tonight, we have shown the world the power of hope, the strength of organizing, and the might of our collective voice," Johnson tweeted after Tuesday's win. "Tomorrow, the real work begins. We will build a safer, stronger Chicago that reflects the hopes and dreams of every one of us – together."

Cover photo: ALEX WROBLEWSKI / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

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