Chicago mayoral election results: Brandon Johnson elected next mayor as Paul Vallas concedes

Thursday, April 6, 2023
Brandon Johnson will serve as the next mayor of Chicago after winning Tuesday night's election, with Paul Vallas conceding the race, and he's ready to get to work.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson was out Wednesday thanking voters and talking about his agenda and priorities for the city.

With 99% of precincts reporting, Johnson has 51% of the vote with 286,647 votes, with Vallas having 49% of the vote with 270,775 votes.

Johnson shook hands with commuters at the Cermak Red Line stop in Chinatown, fresh off his victory.

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"A better, stronger, safer city is something we're going to work towards together and I want to thank the residents of the city of Chicago for putting their trust in our movement," Johnson said.

Andrea Defell-Shavres met the mayor-elect in person, overcome with emotion and full of confidence in his future.

"It's just time for a change and Lori Lightfoot did a wonderful job and we just gotta keep on moving in a positive direction that's all," Defell-Shavres.

WATCH: Brandon Johnson's victory speech

Brandon Johnson addressed his supporters after Paul Vallas called him to concede.

The 47 year old Cook County commissioner will become the 57th mayor of Chicago in a come-from-behind victory by a candidate who was largely unknown six months ago.

Johnson sat down with ABC7 political reporter Craig Wall to discuss his agenda and priorities for the city.

The progressive Democrat faces the challenge of bringing together a city divided on how to deal with big issues like crime.

"I wanna see this crime thing solved," said Chicagoan Randy Horne. "I was attacked right outside of this L station several months ago so I'm looking forward to the crime thing being cleaned up."

Johnson said public safety is his top priority upon taking office.

"Obviously, public safety is something that has been on the minds of people in the city of Chicago for a very long time. I mean, it's his very severe problem. And uniting the city requires us to sit down and talk to everyone," he said.

Johnson said that includes police, community and faith leaders, and members of the newly elected district police councils.

He has plans for tackling the city's usual summer crime surge using that collaborative approach, which includes hiring young people to provide positive alternatives and prevent crime.

"The more we invest in young people in the immediate the more we're going to see a reduction in crime and that has been proven over and over again," he said.

The youth vote was crucial for Johnson's victory. Current numbers from the Chicago Board of Elections shows voters 18 to 34 cast more than 9,500 ballots Tuesday than they did in the February 28 election. With mail-in ballots still being counted, that increase could end up being 20,000 or more.

"It was monumental," he said. "You saw it, and that's the type of excitement that we need, right? Think about the number of people in my generation or older that are constantly pushing young people to get engaged. And we did that."

One thing Johnson will also need to deal with are concerns in the business community about his $800 million tax plan. He said the two sides will have to come together.

"And look, we're not always going to agree on every single aspect of my plan. And that's a part of democracy. But we get to have those type of hard conversations. And I'm confident that we're all going to walk out together on the same page," he said.

Less than a week after the pre-runoff city council voted to reorganized and appoint its own committee chairs, Johnson signaled that will need to change.

"Now there are members now who will be joining the city council that also should be able to weigh in and allow those committees are structured," he said. "What I want to see is that everyone gets to participate."

Johnson also said he wants to take a pause on any new city contract with Comed so experts can review it, and he wants to try to keep the Bears in Chicago. And while that may seem improbable, so did Johnson's victory just a few months ago.

Democrat Paul Vallas accepted defeat last night in front of a stunned group of supporters.

What are greatest challenges facing Brandon Johnson after mayoral victory?

ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington breaks down Brandon Johnson's victory.

The 69-year-old former CPS CEO and former city budget director urged people to come together.

"The only pathway forward in our great city is together, whether it's calling the schools affordable or equitable economic development," Vallas said. "The solutions we adopt and implement must work for all Chicagoans."

Meanwhile, Johnson's base is looking for him to deliver on campaign promise to invest in people all across the city.

WATCH: Paul Vallas addresses supporters

Paul Vallas thanked his supporters on Election Night after conceding the Chicago mayor's race to his oppononet, Brandon Johnson.

"I just congratulated him and I wished him well for the city so we'll see how it turns out," Karen Pope said. "I think he'll get it done in the four years. I think he'll get it done."

The former Chicago public school teacher was endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union, with the CTUs president releasing a statement saying, "Today, Chicago has spoken. Chicago has said yes to hope; yes to investment in people; yes to housing the unhoused, and yes to supporting young people with fully-funded schools. It is a new day in our city."

Governor JB Pritzker also released a congratulatory statement, saying in part "I'd like to congratulate Mayor-elect Johnson on his victory. I am committed to a productive partnership that advances our shared priority of making Chicago an even better place to live, work, do business, and raise a family."

Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a statement saying, "I congratulate Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson on his hard-fought runoff victory this evening. It is time for all of us as Chicagoans, regardless of our zip code or neighborhood, our race or ethnicity, the creator we worship, or who we love, to come together and recommit ourselves to uniting around our shared present and future. My entire team and I stand ready to collaborate throughout the transition period. As always, I will continue to root for the city I call home, and to work toward more equity and fairness in every neighborhood. I am hopeful and optimistic that the incoming administration will carry forth our work to that end."

Johnson will be sworn in on May 15.