CHICAGO — Kam Buckner, a state representative and former mayoral candidate, is backing Brandon Johnson to lead the city, while a group of South and West side alderpeople are throwing their weight behind Paul Vallas.
The rival campaigns announced the endorsements Thursday.
Vallas, a former Chicago Public Schools CEO, came in first of nine candidates in the Feb. 28 election, receiving 33 percent of the vote. Johnson, a Cook County commissioner, followed with about 22 percent.
During Buckner’s campaign for mayor, he emphasized improving the CTA and the city’s bike and transportation infrastructure, although he failed to gain traction as a frontrunner. He ultimately came in seventh in the Feb. 28 election, notching just more than 11,000 votes.
Buckner is the fourth former mayoral candidate to make an endorsement in the runoff. Activist Ja’Mal Green, businessman Willie Wilson and Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) are all backing Vallas.
“This election is our chance to separate ourselves from the status quo of the past that’s locked this City in a cycle of violence and disinvestment,” Buckner said in a statement. “Brandon Johnson has the integrity and the vision to make Chicago work better than it ever has.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who came in third place Feb. 28, and Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, who came in fourth, have not announced any plans to endorse a candidate for the runoff.
The Vallas campaign announced support from several South and West Side City Council members and former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones.
Alds. Michelle Harris (8th), Anthony Beale (9th), David Moore (17th), Derrick Curtis (18th) and Emma Mitts (37th) will endorse Vallas Thursday afternoon in Chatham, his campaign said in a news release.
Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2, the union that represents firefighters and paramedics, also endorsed Vallas Thursday.
Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn endorsed Brandon Johnson Thursday.
Johnson and Vallas have clashed in a series of forums and debates in recent days. The candidates Tuesday sparred over their starkly different approaches to public safety, while both walked back controversial comments about policing.
The runoff is April 4. Early voting starts March 20.
See our round up of mayoral endorsements here.
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