Nov 28, 2022 - Politics

The Chicago mayoral race is officially on

Illustration of Chicago City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Today is the final opportunity for candidates to file the 12,500 valid signatures needed to qualify for the February mayoral race.

Driving the news: Mayor Lori Lightfoot already announced she's turning in her petitions today in the hope of winning a lottery that would place her name last on the ballot.

  • Other announced candidates who could join her in that lottery are U.S. Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th).
  • Barring any successful petition challenges, at least nine candidates are expected to be on the mayoral ballot.

Here's a candidate cheat sheet:

The incumbent: Lightfoot allies are raising money with a new campaign fund that doesn't have to abide by city hall ethics rules, and the mayor is already appearing on local TV with a new set of ads.

The heavyweight challenger: Garcia, who enjoys the most name recognition and holds the highest office among the challengers. He says he's learned from his 2015 runoff with former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, although a lot of his past supporters have since moved on.

The newcomer: Cook County commissioner Brandon Johnson, who has emerged as the progressive choice. He's already secured important endorsements from the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Healthcare Illinois.

Mr. Law and Order: Paul Vallas is running again after losing in 2019, this time on improving public safety. With Ald. Ray Lopez bowing out, the former schools chief becomes the candidate most likely to court the police and firefighter vote.

  • Former police officer Frederick Collins also announced he is running, but he has yet to turn in signatures.

The man of the people: Willie Wilson, the local businessman running again after losing in 2015 and 2019.

The Young Turk: Ja'Mal Green, the 27-year-old political activist and organizer. He stands out as the youngest candidate in the race and the only one who has nailed the Beyonce Cuff It Challenge with his staff.

The Alders: Ald. Sophia King and Ald. Roderick Sawyer make up a much shorter list than we figured to have a month ago — before Ald. Lopez and Ald. Tom Tunney chose not to run.

  • King represents the 4th ward, which includes Hyde Park.
  • Sawyer, the son of former Chicago mayor Eugene Sawyer, once served as chair of the powerful Black aldermanic caucus at City Hall.

The Springfield kid: 37-year-old state Rep. Kam Buckner, who represents parts of the South Side in Springfield, including King's Hyde Park.


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