Chicago mayoral candidates pull out all the stops to sway undecided voters ahead of election

Senator Dick Durbin endorses Paul Vallas as Reverend Al Sharpton attends event with Brandon Johnson

Sunday, March 26, 2023
Chicago mayoral candidates pull out all the stops to sway undecided voters ahead of election
Paul Vallas gained a major endorsement Sunday as Brandon Johnson attends an event with Reverend Al Sharpton Sunday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Candidates in the Chicago mayoral race are pushing for support in their final full week of campaigning before next Tuesday's runoff election.

In addition to last-hope efforts to sway undecided voters and to get people to the polls, endorsements are still coming in.

It is crunch time for both candidates and they are both bringing out the big guns Sunday.

Paul Vallas got an important endorsement from Senator Dick Durbin, while Brandon Johnson attended a "Get Out the Vote" event on the West Side.

In the heart of the city's West Garfield community, music echoes through the chambers at New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. At the pulpit was Reverend Al Sharpton, echoing the need for West side voters to get to the polls.

"The entire United States is looking at Chicago," Sharpton said.

The civil rights icon had attendees on their feet in applause at Sunday's rally.

"It's time for us to show on April 4 that we are the children of those that shed blood to give us the right to vote," Sharpton said.

Johnson was at Sharpton's side, trying to mobilize his base and spread his campaign message.

"On April 4, it's time to revive the City of Chicago," Johnson said. "This is about making sure we doing what is right and what is just."

With a little over two weeks to go before Chicago's mayoral runoff on April 4, it was a day that both candidates were aiming to get their message out to voters.

Vallas marched in Sunday's Hellenic Heritage Parade in Greektown, but not before garnering an important endorsement from Durbin.

"I think it's going to help dispel this myth that I'm not a lifelong Democrat," Vallas said.

Indeed, Vallas, who has been plagued throughout the runoff by accusations of being a closeted Republican, was flanked -- not just by Durbin, but also by Jesse White.

Durbin explained why, unlike Governor Pritzker, he chose to take a side in Chicago's mayoral election.

"I thought about it long and hard. I respect both candidates in the race," Durbin said. "Quite honestly, I know Paul Vallas so well -- I know him personally. I know his family. I know his values and I know his amazing intellect. I have worked with this man over the years."

But will the endorsement make a difference? Both candidates have amassed impressive lists of endorsements.

The latest polls are now showing the race to be a statistical dead heat, with Vallas only two points ahead of Johnson and with 10% still saying they're undecided.

"Vallas has really solidified his base in the white communities, particularly in the North West and South West sides. Brandon Johnson has solidified his base in African American communities. So what's up for grabs are progressive whites on the lakefront and Latino voters, and I think that's where the real rubber is going to meet the road," said ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington.

Washington said it appears both candidates have solidified their voter base, so what happens in these next few days could be pivotal in this election and it will come down to the wire.