Chicago mayoral election: Paul Vallas, Brandon Johnson make sprint to the finish in race for mayor

Craig Wall Image
Monday, April 3, 2023
Vallas, Johnson make sprint to the finish in race for Chicago mayor
Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas were hitting the church circuit Sunday, as they try to win over undecided voters.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In just two days, Chicago voters will be choosing their next mayor, meaning it's crunch time for the two runoff candidates.

Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas were hitting the church circuit Sunday, as they try to win over undecided voters and encourage people to go to the polls.

However, Johnson was defensive about comments from a previous debate that drew international media attention this weekend.

This race is going down to the wire and the two candidates on the campaign trail are making their case to voters, while being careful with their words, not wanting to make any mistakes this close to the election.

Johnson tried to clarify comments that he said are being taken out of context.

He greeted parishioners at New Life Covenant Church Southeast, a mega-church on the city's South Side, where almost prophetically like the race for mayor, the Palm Sunday sermon was entitled "It's Not Over."

The church prayed over Johnson, who did not address the congregation.

But Johnson was forced to address comments from a March 18 mayoral forum quoted in the Guardian Newspaper, where he characterized the race as between Black labor and white wealth.

"I said I read a book, 'Black Labor, White Wealth.' Look, I know that there is a lot of interest in this city to see it divided. We're not dividing the city, we're bringing the city together," Johnson said.

Vallas, joined by former Secretary of State Jesse White, visited the same church during a later service as Vallas hopes to boost support among Black voters with two days until the election.

The church also prayed over Vallas before he left.

Vallas later joined elected officials in Lakeview, ... along with a number of elected officials who have endorsed him, for a rally aimed at influencing Lakeview voters and particularly women who may have concerns about his record.

"Paul Vallas has always been a supporter of women's rights to make their own health care decisions and he's going to ensure that Chicago remains a safe haven for all women," said Alderwoman Silvana Tabares, 23rd Ward.

"As a leader, he listens to many diverse viewpoints and tries to make the best decision about CPS, whether it's economics or whether it's public safety," Alderman Tom Tunney, 44th Ward, said. "We know, even in this neighborhood, that public safety is the number one, number two [and] number three issue."

Vallas was asked to weigh in on Johnson's comments about the race.

"So the only one who has formed any racial division is Brandon Johnson, and his comment is just the latest comment to do that," Vallas said. "So, race should not be a factor in this race and it only serves to divide our city. I'm here to unite our city."

Meanwhile, Johnson joined 6th Ward aldermanic candidate Will Hall for a pre-canvassing rally.

"You can feel the energy all over Chicago. Can't you? No matter where you go. People want a better, stronger, safer Chicago and they want a leader who can collaborate with people, bring people together, not distort our message," Johnson said.

Johnson also hosted a gospel concert rally in Chicago's Fuller Park neighborhood Sunday night.

Both candidates are now in the sprint to the finish with the election just two days away.