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Vallas Leads Chicago Mayor’s Race As Election Day Nears: POLL

Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas held a roughly 4.2% lead over Cook County Board Commissioner Brandon Johnson with likely voters in their contest to become Chicago’s mayor, according to a poll released two days before the runoff election.

Vallas received support from about 49.6% of 900 respondents, while 45.4% favored Johnson, the Victory Research poll, conducted from March 31 to April 2, shows, with early voting in progress since March 20. Vallas and Johnson advanced to the April 4 Chicago mayor runoff election by placing first and second respectively in the Feb. 28 first round, eliminating first-term incumbent Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Vallas, a self-described “lifelong Democrat” who served as Chicago’s budget director in the 1990s and Philadelphia School District CEO in the mid-2000s, has repeatedly accused Johnson of wanting to “defund the police,” pointing out that he called it a “real political goal” on a radio show in December 2020. Johnson has argued Vallas is a Republican, mentioning how he characterized himself “more of a Republican than a Democrat now” in a 2009 interview, according to Politico.

The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police supports Vallas in the election, while Johnson is a member of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and has their endorsement. The CTU has donated more than $1.5 million in support of Johnson’s campaign, according to the Illinois Policy Institute, a move the organization said breaks the union’s own rules.

Republican donors have given significant contributions to Vallas, though Chicago Republican Party Chairman Steve Boulton noted Wednesday that the party had not endorsed him, saying, “Paul Vallas is not a Republican,” Crain’s Chicago Business reported.

The Victory Research poll had a 3.27% margin of error.

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