Brandon Johnson Defeats Paul Vallas to Become Next Mayor of Chicago: ‘It Is Time for Chicago to Come Alive’

On Tuesday, Brandon Johnson, Cook County Commissioner, was elected Chicago Mayor. He is the second Black man to lead Chicago’s third-largest city in the United States.

Paul Vallas (the former Chicago Public Schools CEO) conceded defeat and said he expected Johnson to become the next mayor. After a spike in crime in Chicago, Vallas ran to be the next mayor. This was after the city’s struggle to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and violent racial justice protests.

Johnson will succeed Lori Lightfoot who was defeated by Chicago voters for a second term. Lightfoot will become the first Chicago mayor to serve only four years since Jane Byrne.

The contest will likely result in a referendum on public safety with rivals offering completely different solutions to seemingly intractable problems of violence and crime.


Johnson led Vallas by 51.42% with 99.23% of precincts reporting. According to early unofficial returns from Chicago Board of Elections, Vallas was at 48.58%. The votes between the candidates was 15,822

The Chicago Board of Elections still has more than 90,000. However, the Associated Press voted for Johnson in the race to become Chicago’s 57th Mayor. Vallas stated that he expected Johnson to become the next mayor.

Johnson thanked his supporters in his victory speech.

Johnson stated, “Make no mistake, Chicago is a Union Town.”

Johnson stressed the importance of building coalitions in his campaign and pointed out the need to build more coalitions throughout the city. Johnson appealed to voters who didn’t vote for him, promising to work with them.

“Investing in people has been the heartbeat of this movement. He said that he was honest and intimate about this because he has seen the effects of disinvestment.

Johnson made repeated references to Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream and ended his speech looking forward for his next four years of office.

Johnson stated, “Today we celebrate revival and restoration of the city Chicago.” It is time for Chicago’s revival, Chicago! Brandon Johnson is my name and I’m excited to serve as the next mayor in the most beautiful city in the world.

Vallas said in his concession speech that he was humbled and honored by the support of his supporters. Vallas thanked his family and expressed gratitude for their “unwavering support” and sacrifice, and said that he was proud to have built the diverse coalition that he ran.

Vallas stated that he ran for the office of mayor “to bring the city together” and it was clear from the results that the city is deeply divided. Even though we believe that every vote should count, I called Brandon Johnson tonight and said that I expect him to become the next mayor in Chicago.

Vallas stated, “It is crucial that we use the opportunity to come together.” Johnson also said that he had my full support for his transition. I look forward working with him.”

Johnson, as mayor, has pledged to adopt a more holistic approach to public safety. He will increase funding for youth employment programs, mental health services, and redirect $150 million from the budget of the police department. This includes an additional $50 million to finance reform efforts and complying with federal judges’ orders.

This was in stark contrast to Vallas’ pledge to restore “proactive” Chicago policing by filling as many vacant police positions as possible in Chicago, and redeploying officers in a community-policing strategy that ensured officers patrolled the same area regularly while following a regular work schedule.

Johnson, 47, follows in the footsteps of Harold Washington, the former Chicago Mayor, who was elected in 1987 to a second term. Washington was killed in office. His replacement was Eugene Sawyer, former Mayor of Chicago, who lost his bid to serve a full term to Richard M. Daley who would continue serving for 22 more years.

Johnson resides in Austin with his wife, and their three children. They all attend Chicago Public Schools.

Lightfoot released a statement Tuesday night, congratulating Johnson.

It is time for Chicagoans to come together, regardless of their zip code, neighborhood, race, ethnicity, creator they worship or love, and to recommit to our common future and present. The statement states that my entire team and myself are ready to work together during the transition period.

Johnson’s victory was fuelled by the progressive movement formed against former Mayor Rahm El’s decision to close half the city’s public mental health clinics and 50 schools throughout the city.

It also represents the culmination of over a decade-long effort by the Chicago Teachers Union, to seize citywide power and advocate for a host of issues that benefit Chicago’s children.

Johnson and Vallas also clashed over public safety. The contest was a referendum between the Chicago Teachers Union, where Johnson is an organizer and largest contributor to his campaign, and those who want charter schools to increase their number.

Vallas has been a supporter of charter schools for many years and supports programs that use public money to pay tuition at private schools.

Johnson, a former teacher, placed support for neighborhood public schools at center of his campaign for mayor. He also promised to appoint likeminded people to the Chicago Board of Education, until it becomes an elected board.

Johnson will have to deal with issues other than public safety. Johnson will also face a progressive City Council that is determined to function independently for the first time ever in Chicago history. Johnson will also be facing a budget shortfall nearly three times as large as the gap in 2023.

Johnson’s campaign event at Marriott Marquis, near McCormick Place, saw cheers and applause when he pulled ahead slightly in returns. The supporters huddled together in front of a TV showing the election results.

Chicago wouldn’t be Chicago without “The Percolator”, and “Cha Cha Slide”, and the Johnson crowd was up and dancing along with his lead.

Kam Buckner, a former rival who became a supporter of Johnson, said about Johnson’s victory over Vallas: “We’re very excited. We knew this was going be close from the beginning, and that every vote would count.

Buckner stated that this election was about “whether or not we wanted more of what is already here, or a glimpse into the future of Chicago.”

Johnson supporter Claire New