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Wednesday, April 5, 2023

WBEZ: Brandon Johnson will be Chicago’s next mayor #ChiMayor23

Brandon Johnson Mayor-elect

I hope he lives up to these words, a united city will be a great city.

Starting with little citywide name recognition, Johnson finished second in the first-round election in February to qualify for the runoff and rallied from behind in polls in the weeks before Tuesday’s vote.

“You know, they said this would never happen,” Johnson said in his victory speech before a raucous crowd. “If they didn’t know — now they know.”

Johnson said his win represented a victory for a “bold progressive movement” and would bring “the revival and resurrection of the city of Chicago.”

But he also immediately reached out to the many voters who did not pick him Tuesday: “I care about you. I value you. And I want to hear from you. I want to work with you. I will be the mayor for you too. This campaign has always been about building a better, stronger, safer Chicago for all the people of Chicago.”

Another piece of analysis:

The runoff election features two candidates who promoted vastly different visions for the city’s finances, schools and public safety issues.

Throughout the campaign, the attacks grew increasingly hostile, as the two candidates tried to paint each other as too radical to lead the nation’s third-largest city.
The race of the candidates — Johnson is Black and Vallas is white — and race-related issues came up repeatedly in the campaign. When faced with critiques of his prowess at handling budget issues or claims that he will “defund the police,” Johnson called the attacks racist — a claim that Vallas’s supporters pushed back on.

Both candidates tried to court Black voters who favored other candidates in the general election. Each tallied sizable lists of prominent Black elected officials’ endorsements.

And then I got to throw this in from Natalie Moore 

Johnson and his opponent Paul Vallas had presented mayoral visions that couldn’t differ more. One focused on investing in people rather than police, the other focused on abating the fear of crime by hiring more officers. One prioritized a future that eschews moderation in favor of progressive politics, while the other could be viewed as protecting the status quo.
Vallas’ glad-handing and possible horse-trading is how politics work. What did Vallas promise to Black Chicago? And now that Johnson has been declared the winner, how will the Black establishment try to curry favor with the new mayor they shunned? An even more critical point will be when the ward-level voter breakdowns are released. What will it mean if Black voters cast ballots for Johnson, while their council representatives backed the loser and are seen as out of touch?

To be sure, Johnson — a little-known Cook County commissioner last fall — inherits a legacy of Black activism and leadership. Jesse Jackson Sr., Congressman Jonathan Jackson and fellow West Sider Congressman Danny Davis supported Johnson. But Johnson, a West Sider who emerged from the capital “P” progressive political wing, in some ways may have been perceived as a Black outsider, since Black political power in Chicago tends to be concentrated on the South Side.

The Black establishment may face its own reckoning with Johnson, who craves taking the city in a different direction.

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