CHICAGO — With the April 4 runoff four weeks away, the mayoral candidates continue to line up endorsements.
On Tuesday, outside the Cook County building, Brandon Johnson received support from President Toni Preckwinkle, who, like Johnson, is a former teacher turned politician.
“I am very hopeful that Brandon Johnson is going to be the next mayor of the city of Chicago and I’m going to work very hard for him,” Preckwinkle said.
Over at Paul Vallas’ campaign headquarters, longtime former principal of Whitney Young High School, Dr. Joyce Kenner, praised Vallas’ work as CEO of Chicago Public Schools.
“When Mr.Vallas became CEO, he made everybody accountable and some people afraid,” Kenner said.
As the campaigns hunt for allies, Vallas has moved quickly to try to capitalize on his most prominent endorsement so far. On Tuesday, he began airing a TV commercial starring Illinois’ most popular Democrat, former Secretary of State Jesse White.
“I have known Paul Vallas for 40 years and I trust him,” White says in the advertisement. “He has the know-how and experience to fix what’s broken.”
In the runoff contest, Vallas is trying to build upon his solid support base on the city’s Northwest and Southwest Sides. In contrast, Johnson tries to consolidate the majority of the vote that wasn’t with Vallas on Feb. 28. To help execute their plan, each campaign is counting on surrogates, says WGN political reporter Paul Lisnek.
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“People differ on how important endorsements are. There’s an argument to be said that people don’t care who’s endorsing you, they’re going to do their own thing,” Lisnek said. “But I think the flipside to that is when somebody who you respect, you admire and maybe you voted for endorses a candidate when you’re not sure what to do, that may have some impact on you.
On Wednesday, Willie Wilson is expected to announce he’ll be backing in the runoff. That same day, both Vallas and Johnson will meet in their first televised debate.