Brandon Johnson denies involvement to Paul Vallas signs after called out by Chicago Republican Party

Craig Wall Image
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Johnson slammed by Chicago Republican Party for Vallas MAGA signs
The Chicago Republican Party, which has made no endorsement in the race, has called the signs racial dog whistles.

CHCIAGO (WLS) -- The race for Chicago mayor is coming down to the wire and Wednesday, both candidates expressed confidence about election night -- even as they continue to battle for votes.

Brandon Johnson touting a new endorsement from a major international church leader, while a former president of the Chicago School Board endorses Paul Vallas.

The Chicago Republican Party is not weighing in with an endorsement, but instead, they are calling out the Johnson campaign for fake Vallas yard signs that show support for Donald Trump's MAGA slogan.

Johnson has claimed no knowledge of who is doing it as he claimed a big endorsement Wednesday.

RELATED: Chicago mayoral poll shows tie between Paul Vallas, Brandon Johnson 1 week away from Election Day

Johnson praying that the latest endorsement from Presiding Bishop J. Drew Sheard, who leads the 8-million-member Church of God in Christ International, will help get his supporters to the polls.

"If we're going to experience next-level living, we need to start with next-level leadership. My brothers and sisters, don't forget vote," Bishop Sheard said.

However, Johnson's campaign also came under fire over fake Vallas campaign signs with MAGA 2024 on them that have popped up on the South and West sides.

The Chicago Republican Party, which has made no endorsement in the race, has called the signs racial dog whistles.

RELATED: Chicago mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson, Paul Vallas launch attacks as Election Day nears

"Stop using us as punching bags for his attempt to incite the Black community to vote for him," said Steve Boulton, chair for the Chicago Republican Party. "We don't think it's proper, we think it's wrong and we want him to stop."

Johnson, who has previously denied his campaign is involved, shot back at the criticism during an earlier campaign stop.

"Paul Vallas invited the GOP into this race, they've endorsed him. The fact that he had 21 donors who also donated to Donald Trump," Johnson said.

ABC7 caught up with Vallas during a stop at Manny's Deli Wednesday, where he held a private meeting with some supporters. We asked him about the signs.

"We got a lot of that," Vallas said. "We know that it's coming -- that's how desperate they are and that's the dirty tricks that they have to play."

RELATED: Chicago mayoral candidates share education background, but from different sides

Vallas joined education leaders, who denounced what they called misrepresentations of Vallas' record while leading Chicago Public Schools.

"We've all come out today to set the record straight and to call for the lies, the distortions and the deceptions to stop about the CPS during the years that Paul Vallas was CEO," said Gery Chico, a former CPS board president.