Vallas vs. Johnson: An Updated Endorsement Guide to the 2023 Chicago Mayoral Election

Ruby McKenzie
10 Min Read

Chicago mayoral candidates Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson continue to vie for endorsements from political leaders across the city and the country with the election less than two weeks away, with some eye-popping names lending their support to the campaigns.

Vallas and Johnson advanced to the runoff election out of a field of nine candidates, including incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot. According to data from the Chicago Board of Elections, Vallas received 32.9 percent of the first-round vote, while Johnson won 21.63 percent of the vote.

Although more than half of the members of the Chicago City Council issued endorsements in the first round of this year’s mayoral election, many are now being courted by the race’s two remaining candidates as both aim to consolidate support.

Vallas, the first-place finisher of last month’s election, entered the runoff with endorsements from downtown City Council members Brendan Reilly and Brian Hopkins, while also receiving backing from Far Northwest Side Ald. Anthony Napolitano and long-time Lakeview Ald. Tom Tunney.

To start the runoff campaign, Vallas received endorsements from former Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and former mayoral candidate and 6th Ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer, the former of whom backed Lightfoot in the first round.

In the days since, Vallas has received the support of several more City Council members and former mayoral challenger Ja’Mal Green.

As for Johnson, endorsements from the Chicago Teachers Union, United Working Families and several progressive City Council members helped propel his campaign to prominence and eventually a second-place finish in the first round of the mayoral election.


In the time since, Johnson has continued to consolidate support from much of the city’s left-of-center political brass, receiving endorsements from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Congressman Danny Davis.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has also endorsed Johnson, as has the Sen. Bernie Sanders-backed group Our Revolution.

Endorsements could provide a critical boost to the two candidates, both of whom are seeking to build a broad coalition that will likely be needed to emerge as the victor in the April 4 runoff.

The Groups Included in This Guide
-The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 educators in the city, and describes its mission as being “dedicated to advancing and promoting quality public education, improving teaching and learning conditions, and protecting members’ rights.”

-The International Union of Elevator Constructors is a union representing more than 25,000 workers in the profession of building, modernizing and repairing elevators.

-SEIU Healthcare is a union representing healthcare, child care, home care and nursing home workers in four Midwestern states, including Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas.

-SEIU Local 1 represents more than 50,000 workers in the Midwest, with janitors, security officers, airport workers, food service workers and more, according to its website. Its endorsements are split between the local chapter of the union and the Illinois State Council, according to a press release, and we have made note on which division of the union endorsed which candidate.

-SEIU Local 73 represents more than 31,000 workers, primarily in public service and publicly-funded positions. It says it chooses candidates to endorse that “best support working families’ issues.”

-Sierra Club Illinois Chapter is the state chapter of the nationwide environmental advocacy organization, promoting sustainable practices and expanding environmental protections.

-Equality Illinois is the state’s oldest LGBTQ+ rights and advocacy organization, and was originally founded as the Illinois Federation for Human Rights.

-Illinois Nurses Association is a group that “advocates for all of nursing”, and works to elevate the priorities of nursing in legal and regulatory decisions.

-United Working Families is a group “dedicated to building people-powered infrastructure and campaigns,” including pushing for high-paying jobs, quality public education and affordable housing, according to its website.

-American Federation of Government Employees Local 704, who represent nearly 1,000 Environmental Protection Agency employees across the Midwest.

-Armenian National Committee for America, a nationwide organization that advocates for visibility toward issues relevant to Armenian Americans.

-AFSCME Council 31 represents public-sector employees in the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs.

-Plumbers Local 130 represents hundreds of plumbing professionals across the Chicago area.

-International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 “represents approximately 23,000 men and women working in a variety of construction and other industries” in parts of Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, according to its website.

-National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United is the largest union of registered nurses in the U.S.

Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson:

City Council members (ward represented in parentheses, *denotes Ald.-elect):

  • Daniel La Spata (1st)
  • Pat Dowell (3rd)
  • Julia Ramirez* (12th)
  • Jeanette Taylor (20th)
  • Howard Brookins Jr. (21st)
  • Michael Rodriguez (22nd) [endorsed García in first round]
  • Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th)
  • Jason Ervin (28th) [endorsed Lightfoot in first round]
  • Rossana Rodríguez-Sanchez (33rd)
  • Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th)
  • Andre Vasquez (40th) [endorsed García in first round]
  • Matt Martin (47th)
  • Maria Hadden (49th)

U.S. Senators and Representatives (District represented in parentheses):

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.)
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.)
  • Rep. Jonathan Jackson (IL-1)
  • Rep. Delia Ramirez (IL-3)
  • Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-4) [former mayoral candidate]
  • Rep. Danny Davis (IL-7)
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9)
  • Rep. Jim Clyburn (SC-6)
  • Rep. Jamaal Bowman (NY-16)
  • Rep. Brendan Boyle (PA-2)
  • Rep. Troy Carter (LA-2)
  • Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA-7)

City and county officials:

  • Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle
  • Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin (endorsed Lightfoot in first round)
  • Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer
  • Cook County Commissioner Josina Morita
  • Cook County Commissioner Anthony Joel Quezada
  • Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore

Statewide officials:

  • Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul

State Senators and Representatives:

  • Sen. Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford
  • Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas
  • Sen. Mattie Hunter
  • Sen. Mike Simmons
  • Sen. Robert Peters
  • Sen. Ram Villivalam (endorsed García in first round)
  • Sen. Omar Aquino
  • Sen. Robert Martwick
  • Sen. Elgie Sims
  • Rep. Justin Slaughter
  • Rep. Kam Buckner (mayoral candidate in first round)
  • Rep. Lakesia Collins
  • Rep. Mary Flowers
  • Rep. Will Guzzardi
  • Rep. Lilian Jimenez
  • Rep. Kelly Cassidy (endorsed Lightfoot in first round)
  • Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr. (endorsed García in first round)

Notable individuals:

  • Former U.S. Shadow Senator Rev. Jesse Jackson (D.C.)
  • Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (Ill.)
  • Former U.S. Rep. Marie Newman (IL-3) [endorsed Lightfoot in first round]
  • Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss

Groups and unions:

  • American Federation of Teachers
  • Chicago Teachers Union
  • Illinois Federation of Teachers
  • Service Employees International Union Locals 1, 73
  • Service Employees International Union Healthcare
  • United Working Families
  • Sierra Club Illinois Chapter
  • Equality Illinois (endorsed Lightfoot in first round)
  • Illinois Nurses Association
  • American Federation of Government Employees Local 704
  • National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United
  • Chicago College and University Unions
  • Commuters Take Action (endorsed Buckner in first round)

Former CPS CEO Paul Vallas:

City Council members (ward represented in parentheses, *denotes Ald.-elect):

  • Brian Hopkins (2nd)
  • Roderick Sawyer (6th) [former mayoral candidate]
  • Michelle Harris (8th) [endorsed Lightfoot in first round]
  • Anthony Beale (9th)
  • Nicole Lee (11th)
  • Raymond Lopez (15th) [endorsed Wilson in first round]
  • David Moore (17th) [endorsed King in first round]
  • Derrick Curtis (18th)
  • Matthew O’Shea (19th)
  • Silvana Tabares (23rd)
  • Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) [endorsed Lightfoot in first round]
  • Ariel Reboyras (30th)
  • Felix Cardona Jr. (31st) [endorsed García in first round]
  • Emma Mitts (37th) [endorsed Lightfoot in first round]
  • Nicholas Sposato (38th)
  • Samantha Nugent (39th)
  • Anthony Napolitano (41st)
  • Brendan Reilly (42nd)
  • Tom Tunney (44th)
  • Bennett Lawson* (44th)
  • Debra Silverstein (50th)

State Senators and Representatives:

  • Rep. Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar

Notable individuals:

  • Former Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White
  • Businessman and former mayoral candidate Willie Wilson
  • Community activist and former mayoral candidate Ja’Mal Green
  • Former Chair of Illinois State Board of Education, mayoral candidate Gery Chico
  • Former Illinois State Senate President Emil Jones
  • Former Congressman Bobby Rush (IL-1)
  • Former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (endorsed García in first round)

Groups and unions:

  • Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge #7
  • International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 2
  • LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois
  • Armenian National Committee of America
  • Plumbers Union Local 130
  • International Union of Operating Engineers Locals 150, 399
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Locals 9, 134
  • Ironworkers Union District Council of Chicago
  • Firefighters Local 2
  • Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
  • Latino Leadership Council [endorsed García in first round]
  • Chicagoland Apartment Association
  • Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association
  • Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
  • Illinois Retail Merchants Association
  • Gasworkers Local 18007 (endorsed García in first round)


  • Chicago Tribune
  • Gazette Chicago

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