Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas formally began his mayoral campaign Wednesday in an hour-long press conference in which he painted Mayor Rahm Emanuel as “Trump-like.”
Vallas declared himself the “neighborhood candidate,” saying that he would spend “literally every day in the communities” and put an end to Washington, D.C.-style politics in the city.
“I’m not going to be begging people to do the right thing,” Vallas said.
Emanuel appears to see Vallas a legitimate challenger. Shortly before Vallas's announcement, Emanuel seemed to try to deflect media attention from Vallas by holding a press conference at the Chicago’s Public Library’s Blackstone branch in Kenwood.
In early February, Emanuel accused Vallas of being “the architect of kicking the can down the road” during his tenure at CPS from 1995 to 2001.
When asked about Emanuel’s diss during the conference, Vallas said: “He’s going to say that over and over again. He’s going to tell a big lie—very Trump-like, if you ask me.”
The announcement comes exactly one month after Vallas filed to create the "Paul Vallas for Chicago" political committee to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois State Board of Elections records show.
In his official filing, Vallas named his brother Dean Vallas as treasurer of his campaign, and Marilyn Johnson as chair.
The former CPS chief informally announced his campaign on March 28, tweeting, "I am in it to win."
He also ran for Illinois governor in 2002, losing in the Democratic primary to now-disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Vallas later ran for lieutenant governor with Pat Quinn and lost in 2014.
The announcement was Vallas’s first public appearance since his youngest son, Mark, died at a substance abuse facility in February.
Vallas joins six other candidates looking to take on Emanuel, including former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, businessman and philanthropist Willie Wilson and former CPS principal Troy LaRaviere.