CHICAGO — Chicago will have a new mayor come April, with Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson set for battle this spring in a runoff for the mayoral seat of soon-to-be-ousted Lori Lightfoot.
Lightfoot conceded Tuesday night, calling her run as the city’s top elected official “the honor of a lifetime.”
Lightfoot became the city’s first female African American and first openly gay mayor when she defeated Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in the 2019 runoff.
Vallas, 69, the majority frontrunner throughout Tuesday’s election, received 5.4% of the vote in the 14-person field race for Chicago’s mayor in 2019. Vallas campaigned on the message of reducing crime. He previously ran for Illinois governor in 2002 and was Pat Quinn’s running mate in 2014.
Johnson, 46, is a Cook County Commissioner first elected in 2018. Johnson campaigned on the pledge to create the Mayor’s Office of Community Safety to work on violence prevention with all agencies. He said he would cancel the city’s ShotSpotter contract and reopen mental health centers.
Both mayoral candidates have stated that they would relieve Chicago police Supt. David Brown of his duties.
Electing the next mayor is not the only big race this year, as voters in all 50 wards voted to make their choice for city alderpersons. New alderpersons in at least 12 wards will take over because there was no incumbent on the ballot.
Chicago has more than 1.5 million registered voters, though early projections suggest that turnout is much lower than in 2019.
WGN News’ special coverage included analysis and updates from Chicago’s mayoral race, City Council and more. Follow our full blog of the night below.
A retiring James Cappleman means a runoff for the city’s 47th Ward Alderperson seat will be decided between Angela Clay (35%) and Kim Walz (26%).
Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez retains her City Council seat as 33rd Ward alderwoman.
Incumbent Ald. Gilbert ‘Gil’ Villegas (36th Ward) will battle to retain his City Council seat against Leonor ‘Lori’ Torres Whitt.
Ninety-eight percent of the polls show Vallas, Johnson and Lightfoot finishing first, second and third, respectively.
Rep. Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia finishes fourth in Chicago’s mayoral race: “Chicago is at a critical juncture and I believe in the hard work of keeping all of us safe, bringing our city together and rebuilding it with equity and inclusion.”
Tracking the latest Chicago mayoral election race numbers: Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia is projected to finish fourth in polling.
Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th Ward) retains her City Council seat for a fourth term.
A runoff for 11th Ward alderperson will pit Anthony Ciaravino against incumbent Nicole Lee.
A runoff for 21st Ward alderperson will be decided between Ronnie Mosley (25%) and Cornell Dantzler (22%).
Joe Dunne (27%) and Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth (22%) advance to the open 48th Ward seat runoff.
Brandon Johnson addresses his supporters after advancing to April 4 runoff for Chicago mayor: ‘Chicago, we did it!’
Ja’Mal Green, the youngest candidate in the Chicago mayoral race, shares his disappointment with the election results but remains optimistic: “We knew that the odds were stacked against us and we really needed the youth vote to turn out. We got a lot of more work to do there but I’m pretty excited about Chicago’s future.”
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi is excited about Brandon Johnson’s advancement to April runoff: “He was the fresh face in the race here. He was the one person who came out with a positive plan.”
Paul Vallas thanks his supporters and Lori Lightfoot for her service as Chicago mayor: “I haven’t been this happy since my son returned from Afghanistan.”
Brandon Johnson makes runoff for Chicago mayor and will face Paul Vallas in April contest to lead the third-largest US city, Associated Press reports.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot concedes: “Obviously, we didn’t win the election today.”
Chicago mayoral candidate Roderick Sawyer addresses supporters: “I love this city. I’ve worked for this city all my adult life in trying to improve things in my neighborhood, in my community, and in my city and I’m going to continue doing that.”
Ald. Silvana Tabares (23rd Ward) is projected to retain her City Council seat.
Ald. Jeylu B. Gutierrez (14th Ward) is projected to win the City Council seat vacated by indicted alderperson Ed Burke, who announced in late November that he would not seek reelection.
Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson tells WGN News’ Mike Lowe that he will not concede tonight.
Chicago mayoral candidate Sophia King addresses supporters: “Running for mayor is a journey, and making that decision is not an easy one.”
Chicago mayoral candidate Kam Buckner conceded shortly after the announcement that Paul Vallas advanced to the April runoff.
Paul Vallas’ campaign strategist talks candidate’s advancement to April runoff: “It’s because people all across, in every neighborhood, are responding to him…I didn’t think we would break 30% but we have.”
Vallas is expected to address supporters at 9 p.m.
With 53% of precincts reporting, Vallas’ opponent for the Chicago mayoral runoff is still undecided. Johnson (20%) is still ahead of incumbent Lightfoot (16%).
Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16th Ward) is projected to retain her City Council seat.
Ald. Anthony Beale (9th Ward) is projected to retain his City Council seat.
Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward) is projected to retain his City Council seat.
Paul Vallas, former schools CEO backed by the police union, advances to runoff for Chicago mayor, the Associated Press reports. Vallas’ opponent is not yet decided.
Runoff election in Chicago: What happens and when
With 53% of precincts reporting, Paul Vallas is still the frontrunner with (36%), with Johnson and Lightfoot still following, respectively.
Nine percent of the Chicago mayoral race results show Paul Vallas (36%) as the frontrunner, with Brandon Johnson (18%) and incumbent Lori Lightfoot (17%) following.
With polls now closed, as of 7 p.m., there have been over 507,800 ballots cast in Chicago for a citywide voter turnout percentage of 32.1%.
- 18 -24: 15,954 ballots cast – 3.14%
- 25-34: 70,306 ballots cast – 13.84%
- 35-44: 81,147 ballots cast – 15.98%
- 45-54: 81,770 ballots cast – 16.10%
- 55-64: 98,423 ballots cast – 19.38%
- 65-74: 94,430 ballots cast – 18.59%
- 75+: 65,768 ballots cast – 12.95%
Polls are now closed across Chicago.
6: 30 p.m.
Polling sites across the city close in 30 minutes.
As voting across Chicago changes with each cycle, voter turnout looks much different than four years ago. Max Bever, a spokesperson with the city’s Board of Elections, said voter turnout is a lot less than city officials had hoped for.
“What is becoming clear, if this turnout does hold on, is that more voters are choosing to early vote and vote-by-mail than they have in previous years,” Bever told WGN News.
One hour until the polls close in Chicago.
As of 5 p.m., there have been over 444,700 ballots cast in Chicago for a citywide voter turnout percentage of 28.1%. There are 1,581,564 registered voters in Chicago.
Turnout By Age Group:
- 18 -24: 12,165 ballots cast – 2.74%
- 25-34: 56,889 ballots cast – 12.79%
- 35-44: 67,601 ballots cast – 15.20%
- 45-54: 68,540 ballots cast – 15.41%
- 55-64: 86,593 ballots cast – 19.47%
- 65-74: 88,724 ballots cast – 19.95%
- 75+: 63,661 ballots cast – 14.31%