CHICAGO — Chicagoans voted in Brandon Johnson to lead the city during Tuesday’s election.
Johnson collected 288,647 votes — or 51.42 percent — to claim victory over Paul Vallas, who had 270,775 votes, or 48.58 percent, according to Wednesday morning’s unofficial results.
Vallas was the highest vote-getter by far in the Feb. 28 election, which saw him and Johnson knock out big names like incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García. The race was tight between then and Tuesday’s runoff, though Vallas often led in polls.
But Johnson saw his support grow tremendously between the elections. He claimed a huge swathe of the South Side, the West Side and large portions of the North Side — including taking precincts that Vallas had won in the Feb. 28 election.
Vallas held onto the support he’d received on the Far Northwest Side, along the Near North Side’s lakefront and Downtown, and he saw significant support on the Southwest Side.
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Johnson is a West Side native and Cook County commissioner. A former teacher, he was backed heavily by the Chicago Teachers Union, and he’s promised to push progressive policies.
“To the Chicagoans who did not vote for me: I want you to know, here’s what I want you to know — that I care about you,” Johnson said during Tuesday’s victory speech. “I want to work with you. And I’ll be the mayor for you, too. Because this campaign has always been about building a better, stronger, safer Chicago for all the people of Chicago.
“And when I say all the people, I mean all the people — especially folks who have ever been on a payment plan,” Johnson added to roars of laughter, alluding to flack he received on the campaign trail for unpaid water bills.
Vallas is a former Chicago Public Schools CEO who sought to portray himself as the tough-on-crime candidate. He conceded to Johnson on Tuesday night but said he’ll support the mayor-elect as he transitions into the role.
“The only pathway forward in our great city is together,” Vallas said. “It’s time for all Chicagoans to put aside their differences and to walk and to work together supporting the daunting work ahead for our next mayor. I am optimistic that better, brighter days are on the horizon.”
Johnson will take office May 15.
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