Chicago Teachers Union lobbyist elected as Chicago’s 57th mayor

Brandon Johnson

Brandon Johnson | Photo courtesy of Illinois Policy

CHICAGO — Cook County Commissioner and Chicago Teachers Union lobbyist Brandon Johnson has been elected Chicago’s 57th mayor, according to The Associated Press. 

Johnson won 51% of the vote with 99% of precincts reporting as of 9:45 p.m. April 4, according to the news wire service.

One of the issues that divided Johnson and opponent Paul Vallas was their views on the Invest in Kids Act, which allows low-income students to attend a school of their choice.

Vallas supports school choice. Both Johnson and the CTU have made it a target. They have tried killing the Invest in Kids Act and limiting charter schools in the city. The act is supported by 65% of Chicago residents, according to a poll conducted by Echelon Insights and the Illinois Policy Institute.

“I called Brandon Johnson. And told him that I absolutely expect him to be the next mayor of Chicago,” Vallas told supporters Tuesday night.

Johnson has been legislative coordinator for the Chicago Teachers Union, a role that does not offer taxpayers much solace with the new union contract coming up, an elected school board being phased in with the mayor’s guidance and the end of a moratorium on school closings about to expire.

Teachers unions donated about $5.6 million to Johnson, which drew the ire of some CTU members. They are suing CTU for violating its rules and taking their dues to bolster Johnson’s campaign.

Johnson promised to raise an additional $800 million for the city through tax hikes.

Johnson’s backers also included Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and several members of the Illinois General Assembly.

Vallas had the backing of several establishment Democrats such as U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, former Gov. Pat Quinn, former U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush and former Secretary of State Jesse White.

Gov. JB Pritzker declined to endorse either candidate in the race.

“The governor and the mayor of the city of Chicago have to be able to work together,” Pritzker said shortly after the February primary.

Capitol News Illinois also contributed to this story.

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