Chicago mayor election: Paul Vallas responds to attack ads questioning his Democratic status

Sarah Schulte Image
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Vallas defends Democratic status in response to attack ads
Mayor Lori Lightfoot hit the internet with what some are calling a powerful new digital ad using Paul Vallas' own words.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago mayoral candidate Paul Vallas is responding to attack ads questioning his Democratic credentials. Those ads from the campaign of Jesus "Chuy" Garcia also claim Vallas opposes abortion rights.

With jumbo shrimp and sparkling beverages, Vallas courted women voters at a luncheon Tuesday while Mayor Lori Lightfoot hit the internet with what some are calling a powerful new digital ad using Vallas' own words.

SEE ALSO | Paul Vallas under fire for Democratic credentials as candidates tout dueling endorsements

"I'm more of a Republican than a Democrat now," Vallas is heard saying in the ad. "Yes, if I ran for public office, then I would be running as a Republican."

The 30-second ad is taken from a longer interview with Jeff Berkowitz in 2009.

"You're talking about an interview I did in 2009 where, you know, something that you said could be spliced," Vallas said. "I don't know what the question I was responding to is."

Vallas said he was probably answering questions to a hypothetical.

In the ad, Berkowitz asks: "You are saying you take a Republican primary ballot?"

Vallas responds: "I would take a Republican primary ballot."

SEE ALSO | Chicago mayoral candidate Paul Vallas gets surprise endorsement from Ald. Tom Tunney

Vallas strongly defended his party status Tuesday: "The bottom line is, I'm a lifelong Democrat. I've always been always been a lifelong Democrat. I've never taken a Republican ballot."

Vallas said that based on his public record, he considers himself a progressive Democrat.

As polls show Vallas is one of the front runners in the race, he's been under attack by his opponents who have painted him as a conservative.

Congressman Jesus "Chuy" Garcia recently released an ad using the same 2009 interview where Vallas said he is fundamentally against abortion for religious reasons. But, Vallas says he's pro-choice - a point he made to this group of women on Tuesday.

"I have always been an unequivocal uncompromising supporter of women's reproductive rights," Vallas said. "I always have, I always will be."

Despite the accusations over political parties, Chicago elections are non-partisan.

Election Day is three weeks away, and Vallas claims Lightfoot and Garcia are showing signs of desperation.