Chicago mayoral election: Candidates for mayor make last-minute push on eve of Election Day

Latest poll shows Brandon Johnson taking lead for 2nd place over Lori Lightfoot

Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Chicago mayoral candidates push for voters on eve of Election Day
Chicago candidates for mayor are making their final push for voters on the eve of the mayoral election.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago voters go to the polls on Election Day Tuesday to narrow down the field of nine candidates in the race for mayor.

A new poll suggests this may be a race for second place, and one group of voters could make the difference.

The candidates are all working to get those undecided votes, and the lakefront voters who propelled Lori Lightfoot to victory four years ago are critical, but how Black women vote could determine her chance for a second term.

Jesus "Chuy" Garcia was up early, shaking hands with morning commuters on the CTA on the North Side.

"We are pretty fired up and feel quite confident that we will be in the runoff at the end of the day tomorrow and then go on to round two," Garcia said.

RELATED: Chicago Mayoral Election: Latest poll shows Paul Vallas widening lead, no clear 2nd place candidate

With only about 24 hours left before the Chicago mayoral election is over, candidates pounded pavement Monday to get as many votes as they could.

On Monday night, Kam Buckner joined volunteers at a get-out-the-vote phone bank.

"People are poised to create some new leadership here in the city, and I'm glad to be part of that conversation," Buckner said.

Alderman and candidate Sophia King shook hands and greeted commuters earlier on Monday.

"Still a lot of undecided voters in a race of nine people," King said. "I think that's good for us. My competitors have been on TV spending millions of dollars and if people are still undecided that means they are still looking for a candidate."

She handed out fliers reminding voters to pick her in this critical election

"A lot of people are talking about their plans and what they're going to do. I'm talking about my experience, my track record, what I've already done," King said.

Brandon Johnson, in his closing message, spoke of the need for more affordable housing.

"Know this, that the most radical that we can ever do is to love people," Johnson said.

Lightfoot campaigned in Uptown Monday afternoon.

"So everyone, no excuse, if you don't vote, you're giving away your power, and if you don't vote you're letting somebody else in a different part of the city determine your destiny," she said.

She took aim at Vallas.

"The fact of the matter is Paul Vallas has chosen to run in the far right wing lane," Lightfoot said.

She spent the weekend courting women, particularly Black women, seeing them as voters she needs to win a second term.

"I'm reaching out to a natural constituency and base, so we are trying to motivate people all over the city," Lightfoot said.

"Black women are the most reliable, the most loyal and the largest voting bloc there is in terms of the Democratic Party, and so that's who you are going to rely on," said political consultant Delmarie Cobb.

But candidates King and Johnson are also vying for support from women, and Black women.

"So you cannot say that that voting bloc is necessarily going to go to Lori, it's going to be divided," Cobb said.

ALSO SEE: Some candidates dismiss Lightfoot's assertion race is down to her, Vallas

A new poll shows Paul Vallas with the best chance of making the runoff, with 26.8% of the vote. Brandon Johnson is next with 20.2%, and Lightfoot right behind him at 18.7%. Garcia is fourth with 15.6%, statistically making it a three-way race for second place.

"I think we're finishing strong. Our message about public safety, about city affordability, about quality of schools is resonating," Vallas said.

Willie Wilson is the only other candidate polling in the double figures, with 11.4%.

Wilson campaigned at Manny's Deli Monday, and dismissed the poll.

"Well I think that today, tomorrow will be the last that you'll see of Mayor Lightfoot," he said.

In addition to asking for votes, candidates are also stressing voter turnout and plan to campaign through Tuesday.

The election has already reported impressive numbers.

More than 211,000 early vote ballots have been cast so far in Chicago.

RELATED: What's behind Chicago's large early voting turnout and city council change-ups?

Those election numbers showing voters age 65-to-74 years old account more than one third of early voters. But, the youngest candidate, Ja'Mal Green, said he feels confident.

Green hit the Roosevelt train station to get morning commuters and undecided voters to pick him.

"We are going to shock the world tomorrow and show them that people who usually aren't engaged, that can't be polled, are going to turn out and say something different," Green said. "The fake polls that have been coming out. We're going to shock the world tomorrow."

Chicago Votes will be hosting "Parade to the Polls" Monday morning at two different high schools to educate and encourage eligible young voters to get to the polls.

While mail-in ballots are driving early voting, and there is some concern because there are so many of them that it could take several days to determine who the top two candidates are who make it to the runoff in April.