Johnson and Vallas tout dueling endorsements as they jostle for support from Black voters, many of whom chose Lightfoot in 1st round newstrendslive

Chicago mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas rolled out more endorsements Monday morning as the they continue jostling over Black political support.

In the morning, Johnson stood with fellow West Sider U.S. Rep. Danny Davis to announce the progressive Cook County commissioner’s first endorsement from a politician who initially backed Mayor Lori Lightfoot before she was knocked out of the race on Feb. 28.

Later Monday afternoon, Vallas unveiled an endorsement from 6th Ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer, a former candidate in the mayor’s race who also didn’t make the runoff last week.

The dueling announcements from an established Black congressman and the son of Eugene Sawyer, the second Black mayor of Chicago, portend an intense rush between Johnson and Vallas to secure endorsements from elected officials and other leaders in Chicago’s Black community. They also reflect the ways the Black political establishment’s support may splinter in the coming election.

Mayoral candidate Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, center, greets people in the Loop after being endorsed by U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, left, on March 6, 2023.
Ald. Roderick Sawyer announces his endorsement of mayoral candidate Paul Vallas at the Vallas campaign headquarters, March 6, 2023.

“I am proud to be here this morning standing by my neighbor, my friend, my comrade, in efforts to make Chicago a better city,” Davis said in a morning news conference under the Harold Washington Library CTA “L” tracks. He called Johnson “fair minded, meaning that he will represent every part of the city of Chicago. He is well prepared being a Chicago Public Schools teacher, which means that he is educated, but he’s also a father.”

Meanwhile, Sawyer said Chicago doesn’t need another mayor who has to “learn on the job.” He said that through the many candidates’ forum stages they shared, he found that Vallas most reflected his vision for the city.

”Chicago is at an inflection point,” Saywer. “We have a chance to do some really big things. But first, we need to put the right leadership in place. I say Paul Vallas is the right leader for this moment.”

Davis did not bite on questions about the tension within the Black political establishment as surrogates for both candidates are making calls for endorsements. He merely said: “Well, you know, Chicago, being the city that it is, having developed and emerged the way it’s constituted, the mayor has to reach out to all segments of the city.”

Johnson, meanwhile, bristled at the mention that he lost all 16 majority Black wards to Lightfoot and said, “I’m in the runoff.”

“This is not about securing the Black vote alone,” Johnson said. “This is about making sure that the city of Chicago can grow together. That’s been the problem with politics in Chicago for too long, quite frankly, that we have isolated people. Black people on this side, white people on this side, Asian people on this side. This is one Chicago.”

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