Sen. Dick Durbin backs Paul Vallas in Chicago mayoral runoff

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) has nominated former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas to be the next mayor of the Windy City.

Durbin, 78 — the second-ranked Senate Democrat and the highest-ranking elected official in Lincoln’s country — said on Sunday, before deciding to “step out of the comfort of the sidelines” and back Ballas. He said he thought “long and hard”. He confronted far-left Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, claiming he was a secret Republican in the runoff to determine the successor to outcast Lori Lightfoot in a heavily Democratic city. It’s here.

“Make no mistake, [Illinois Secretary of State] Jesse White and I wouldn’t be here today if we didn’t truly believe that Paul Vallas was a lifelong Democrat committed to democratic values.”

“I believe Paul Vallas can move Chicago forward and be the bridge that brings together the good people in this city.”

Senate Whip Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) endorsed moderate Paul Vallas as the next mayor of Chicago.
Rod Lamkey – CNP/MEGA

In the February 28 general election, Vallas and Johnson were the top two vote-getters, and Lightfoot faced backlash over his response to rising crime in the Second City.

Neither Illinois Governor JB Pritzker nor Durbin’s fellow Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth have yet to participate in the mayoral runoff.

Former secretary of education Arne Duncan, like former Illinois legislator Bobby Rush, who co-founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, also named Valas — Duncan’s predecessor as CEO of Chicago Public Schools —. I support

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Lori Lightfoot was ousted by voters in February over her handling of rising crime.
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Paul Vallas (right) speaks and Brandon Johnson listens at a forum before the Chicago Mayoral Runoff.
Vallas (right) faces Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson in the runoff next week.

In contrast, many advances in Congress, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), and “Squad” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts) Like-minded members flocked to support Johnson. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Illinois) also ran for mayor of Chicago, but received only about 14% of the vote in the general election.

a poll released last week Barras leads Johnson by 2.1 points, down from the 5.8-point gap he enjoyed in early March.

“I respect both candidates in my campaign. To be honest, I thought I knew Paul Vallas very well,” Durbin said of his decision. I didn’t want to lose the fact that the city of Chicago needs that kind of leadership and innovative thinking, and we have a great opportunity.”

“He has closed an expected $1.3 billion deficit. He has balanced the budget six times in a row. He improved test scores and opened the nation’s first public high school academy,” Durbin added. “He left the district with peace of work, no teachers’ strike, a full pension and $1.2 billion in cash reserves.”

Brandon Johnson and Paul Ballas shake hands during the March 16, 2023 debate.
Vallas accuses Lightfoot of allowing “the total collapse of law and order.”

Chicago is suffering from the highest murder rate in a quarter century, with 695 recorded murders in 2022 and 804 in 2021.

“Public safety is a fundamental right of every American,” Ballas told supporters on election night. “This is a citizenship and a primary responsibility of government. Make Chicago a safer place and make Chicago the safest city in America.”

During his campaign, Valas accused Lightfoot of monitoring the “total collapse of law and order” and promised to fully fund the city’s police department if elected.

A sign supporting Paul Vallas' candidacy for mayor of Chicago.
Durbin is the only member of Congress to support Valas’ mayoral campaign.

Lightfoot has called for defunding law enforcement following the murder of George Floyd, cutting about $58 million from Chicago’s police budget in 2021.

The mayor of Lame Duck accused Valas of using the “ultimate dog whistle” during his campaign, saying his candidacy was to “take back our city.”

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson, who has the support of many progressive groups, backed the “Defend the Police” movement in 2020, encouraging more spending on workforce development, housing, transportation and schools.

Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson
Johnson claims his speech is “neither radical nor radical” for Chicago voters.
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“What I do know is that the City of Chicago needs a better, stronger, safer city, and that our schools are fully supported, funded, and trusted. That means securing a path to transportation, high-income jobs, affordable housing, and home ownership.

“I mean, these aren’t extreme or radical ideas. That’s what families in the city of Chicago want.”

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