CHICAGO — On the heels of a Tuesday night debate focused on public safety, Chicago mayoral candidates Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson picked up key endorsements on Wednesday.

One finalist received the support of one of the state’s highest elected officials, while a former mayoral opponent backed another.

Brandon Johnson was endorsed by Illinois’ top legal professional, Attorney General Kwame Raoul. Amid this election season, Raoul is the first statewide elected official to endorse a candidate for mayor. Raoul said he had discussions with both candidates before making his decision. 

“After all of the conversations, I decided that Brandon is better for Chicago,” Raoul said.

To improve safety and curb violence in Chicago, Johnson says part of his crime reduction strategy includes hiring or promoting 200 detectives. Raoul stressed confidence that Johnson’s leadership would improve the city’s clearance rates for murders and other violent crimes. 

To help officers work more effectively, Johnson has stated that he would make sure crisis workers are on hand to handle emergency calls related to mental health.  

“That’s why I have built a comprehensive public safety plan calling for more EMTs, ambulances and mental health responders that can deal with the mental health crisis clogging up our 911 dispatch,” Johnson said.

Paul Vallas, the former CPS CEO who has stated that he will focus on community policing to help curb violence, also received new endorsements on Wednesday. Several alderpersons in support of Vallas say he is the one to lead the city out of its crime epidemic. 

“With Paul Vallas, I know that we will have a partner on the fifth floor who is committed to increasing resources for public safety in our community,” said Ald. Nicole Lee (11th Ward).

“Paul is committed to ensuring we have adequate manpower in our police department and provide officers with the resources that they need to do their job,” said Ald. Samantha Nugent (39th Ward).

Former mayoral candidate Ja’Mal Green is also backing Vallas.

“What I know is that he cares about this city and cares about people all throughout the city of Chicago,” Green said.

While both have had their difference, Vallas believes that he and Green align on several issues.

“We may have some differences on policing but we are aligned when it comes to police accountability (and) when it comes to zero tolerance for violating a person’s constitutional rights,” Vallas said.

WGN-TV will host a debate with Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas next Tuesday, March 21, beginning at 7 p.m.