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As the runoff election nears in Chicago, mayoral candidates remain locked in polling

Polling by Northwestern University shows Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson are tied at 44% with 12% undecided.

Published: March 31, 2023 11:16pm

(The Center Square) -

Chicagoans will elect their next mayor on Tuesday. As the race remains close, the two candidates are focusing on education.

Polling by Northwestern University shows that as of late March, Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson are tied with each candidate earning 44% of the overall vote with 12% undecided.

The candidates recently attended a forum hosted by the University of Illinois-Chicago and laid out their education plans.

Johnson, who has the financial support of the Chicago Teachers Union, wants to address what he said are inequalities in schools.

"I know what the disinvestment looks like," Johnson said. "As someone who sends their children to the public schools, I recognize the disparities and the inequalities that exist within our public schools."

Johnson has received endorsements from the American Federation of Teachers, the Chicago Teachers Union, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and United Working Families.

Paul Vallas said he plans to focus Chicago Public Schools toward communities.

"Community schools is my model," Vallas said. "What does that mean? That means you have to push the $30,000 per child that is being spent in the Chicago Public Schools down to the local communities."

Vallas has had the backing of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police during his campaign and said in an interview with former primary candidate for mayor Ja'Mal Green that he has not been taking donations from the FOP like Johnson has from teachers unions.

"I also said if you endorse me, I will not take the money [from the FOP]," Vallas said. "They have offered a contribution to my campaign, but I directed them instead to use the money to help the families of those police officers."

Johnson has recently come under fire with the Members First Caucus filing an unfair labor practice suit against Chicago Teachers Union Local 1 over the union allegedly diverting union dues to Johnson.s campaign. The caucus includes CTU members who don't support the union's political spending on Johnson.

Former Chicago Alderman Robert Fioretti said this race is one of a kind when looking at previous runoffs.

"The candidates are raising and spending money like we have never seen in a runoff election," Fioretti told WMAY. "Over $8 million has been raised between the candidates, most of it on the Vallas side."

Vallas won the majority of votes during the February primary. However, Fioretti said the margin has quickly closed.

"I always said right after the election to folks, it's going to be awfully close despite the difference between the two candidates for the runoff," Fioretti said.

The city of Chicago will decide between Johnson and Vallas for who will be the city's 57th mayor in the April 4 election.

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