A liberal community activist and union organizer with a progressive approach to crime has been elected as Chicago’s new mayor after votes were counted in the Windy City on Tuesday.
Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, 47, was announced as the city’s new mayor after defeating fellow candidate Paul Fallas, 69, who had the backing of the Chicago police union, by nearly 13,000 votes.
Fallas has called on Johnson to concede the election, according to reports ABC Chicago’s Rob Elgas. “I am hopeful that better and brighter days are on the horizon,” Fallas told the fans after conceding.
Like many American cities, Chicago has seen an increase in violent crime during COVID-19 epidemic, hitting a 25-year high of 797 homicides in 2021, though the number was down last year and the city’s homicide rate is lower than other Midwestern cities, such as St. Louis.
During the campaign, Johnson advocated raising $80 million by taxing the wealthy. He also called for a freeze on real estate taxes. Fallas, who had strong support from the business community, said the tax plan would be disastrous for Chicago’s economy.
Hard-on-crime candidate Paul Fallas, 69, a former president of public schools in the Windy City and Philadelphia who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Chicago in 2019, addresses his supporters on election night
Brandon Johnson, Cook County Commissioner and Chicago Teachers Union organizer, was announced as the new mayor of the Windy City Tuesday night.
Fallas supporters are watching the results coming in on Tuesday night
Fallas had called for more police on the city’s streets to tackle the crime epidemic that continues to flourish in the country’s third-largest city. Meanwhile, Johnson said he would invest in summer youth employment programs for at-risk youth and spend more on mental health treatment.
Johnson says he will promote 200 new detectives from the current pool of police officers. He also wants to strengthen police accountability.
On Day One, the winner will have a variety of other issues to address, including a struggling public school system, the city’s financial woes and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic that has closed down many businesses and offices.
The two faced off after incumbent Lori Lightfoot finished third out of nine candidates in the previous round when no one could cross the 50 percent line in the March election.
The Chicago race is technically nonpartisan, but each candidate identifies as a Democrat in the heavily left-leaning city.
Polls have shown that public safety is by far the top concern among residents of America’s third-largest city.
David Axelrod, chief strategist to former President Barack Obama, described the race between Fallas and Johnson as the battle between the “police fraternity candidate” and the “Chicago teachers union candidate.” Chicago Sun Times.
Axelrod called Fallas’ campaign “brilliant” and “disciplined” thanks to him being “crazy cocky” on the issue of violent crime.
(Johnson) is the candidate of the Chicago Teachers Union, and if elected, he will owe it to the Chicago Teachers Union. And Axelrod added in his interview… The question is, do you want a mayor who is entirely indebted to the union.
Fallas’ opponents sought to portray him as a Republican thanks to his endorsement from the city’s frontline police union.
Just last week, the same union hosted potential Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis at an event in Illinois, reports say. ABC Chicago.
“I completely agree with Governor Pritzker that there is simply no place in Chicago for a right-wing extremist like Ron DeSantis, and I am disappointed in the FOP leadership for inviting him to speak to officers,” Fallas said. .
Lightfoot had criticized him for welcoming support from the controversial police union leader, who defended the January 6 rebels at the Capitol and equated the mandate of Lightfoot’s vaccine for city workers to the Holocaust.
The 2023 campaign tested Democratic messaging about policing in the United States, three years after widespread protests in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, and after months of Republicans seeking to attack Democrats on the issue in the 2022 midterm elections.