Chicago mayoral election 2023: Johnson, Vallas hitting campaign trail Friday as poll shows dead heat

Sen. Bernie Sanders to hold rally for Brandon Johnson next week, campaign announces

ByCraig Wall and Christian Piekos WLS logo
Saturday, March 25, 2023
Johnson, Vallas hitting campaign trail Friday as poll shows dead heat
The Chicago mayoral runoff election is around the corner and Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas will hit the campaign trail as a poll shows a dead heat.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Election Day is right around the corner, so both candidates have packed schedules Friday as the latest poll shows Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas nearly neck-and-neck.

WATCH: Full ABC7 Chicago Mayoral Runoff Debate

Watch the complete ABC7 Chicago mayoral candidates debate between Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas.

Brandon Johnson announced Friday a major get out the vote rally next week with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

"Anytime you get a popular national political figure like Bernie Sanders out for your campaign, it's a big plus he's going to bring media attention. He's going to bring energy. He's going to bring credibility," said Laura Washington, ABC7 political analyst.

As both Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson hit the campaign trail hard Friday, Johnson announced he will hold a rally with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders next week.

Sanders could motivate progressives along with young voters who are part of his base, but who largely stayed home for the February election.

"So a rally like this with Bernie Sanders could help energize those voters and perhaps make the difference in the final result," Washington said.

Paul Vallas contends local endorsements are more important.

"Because these are individuals who know my record and these are the individuals who know the issues that are facing their constituents and they're speaking to those issues by endorsing me," Vallas said.

Vallas picked up endorsements from the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, as well as retiring Alderman Roberto Maldonado, the onetime chair of the city council's Latino Caucus.

"We are committed to make a very conscientious effort, and establish a strategy to make sure that we get out the Latino vote," Maldonado said.

The IHCC cited Vallas' focus on public safety, his economic plan and his commitment to affordable housing to combat the problem of gentrification in some Latino communities. Vallas touted his experience at the announcement.

"The issues that unite us are obviously public safety, clearly is the dominant issue, and I'm effectively running against a candidate who has never had any experience managing anything," Vallas said.

Johnson was cheered Friday during a campaign stop at a home for seniors on the South Side.

"We have presented a message of hope and opportunity and our promises get to be as big of a solution, get to be as big as the city of Chicago and, you know, let's get out and continue to build this movement," he said.

Johnson is also holding a private meeting with a North Side Jewish organization. Members are worried about private school educational concerns and public safety.

"There's been shootings, it's been robbings, there's been carjackings," said Beth Bassman of Agudath Israel Illinois.

"Of course, there are some unique, unique dynamics that exists within communities, but that's why I'm here. You know, to make sure that we're listening and we're engaging with our neighbors," Johnson said.

Both candidates need all the backing they can get. A recent poll shows Vallas leading Johnson at 46.3 percent to 44.2 percent.

According to the poll just over 9-and-a-half percent of voters are still undecided. The margin of error makes this tight mayor's race a statistical tie.

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"I'm not going to comment on the polls other than to say we're right on target," Vallas said. "We have confidence in our message and we have confidence that our issues are resonating. We feel that we are going to do well."

Johnson's campaign issued a statement, saying in part, "We're gratified by the extraordinary momentum building behind our multicultural, multigenerational campaign, and we look forward to making that vision a reality on April 4th."

READ MORE: Early voting in Chicago runoff election opens in all 50 wards

Vallas previously had a six point lead over Johnson earlier this month.

That polling also shows two key groups, Hispanics and Lakefront voters are still split between the two candidates, which could very well decide who is elected mayor.