BRONZEVILLE — Another former ally to Mayor Lori Lightfoot has switched teams.
Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) is endorsing county Commissioner Brandon Johnson for mayor, she announced last week.
Dowell, who has served as chair of the City Council’s budget committee throughout Lightfoot’s term, endorsed Lightfoot over county Board President Toni Preckwinkle in 2019.
Lightfoot defended Dowell later that year after a Tribune report revealed a developer had sought $20,000 in taxpayer reimbursements for donations to the alderwoman’s campaign.
But now, Dowell is throwing her support behind Johnson, a longtime Chicago Teachers Union organizer and former teacher from the West Side. Dowell praised Johnson’s leadership style, saying in a statement Johnson’s “willingness to sit at the table with other leaders to find beneficial solutions” is the type of mayor Chicago needs.
“Our city is at a crossroads and it is imperative that we select a mayor that will provide strong, thoughtful and compassionate leadership,” Dowell said. “Brandon Johnson is my choice to make that happen. Leadership is not a one-way conversation with Brandon but a true dialogue.”
For her part, Dowell is unchallenged for her fifth City Council term after all her opponents were knocked off this month’s ballot.
Lightfoot and Dowell praised one another at a ribbon-cutting for Phillips Academy’s athletic annex this fall, but they haven’t always been in agreement. The alderwoman joined 14 City Council members in pushing for Ald. Anthony Beale’s (9th) proposal to eliminate speed camera fines, a proposal Lightfoot called “unconscionable.”
Dowell also opposed Lightfoot’s move to allow NASCAR races to come Downtown and the mayor’s ordinance creating a TIF district to help fund the Red Line expansion south of 95th Street.
Dowell joins a growing list of council members and other elected officials to support Johnson’s bid.
Johnson, who was reelected to his post last year, has won the support of fellow commissioners Bill Lowry, Stanley Moore, Anthony Quezada and Josina Morita.
Alds. Daniel La Spata (1st), Jeanette Taylor (20th), Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), Rossana Rodríguez-Sanchez (33rd) and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) also have endorsed Johnson, according to NBC5.
More of Lightfoot’s council committee chairs are backing other candidates, as well.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) announced last week he was endorsing former Chicago Public Schools Supt. Paul Vallas. Alds. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) and Gilbert Villegas (36th) have endorsed Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman reported.
Ald. Brendan Reilly (2nd) has not endorsed anyone yet but told Block Club he does not back Lightfoot.
The election is Feb. 28.
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