Chicago Mayoral Election 2023

Who's in, Who's Undecided as the Chicago Mayoral Election Season Revs Up


With the midterm elections rapidly receding into the rearview mirror, the 2023 Chicago mayoral election is looming in the distance, with at least 10 declared candidates on the ballot and several others still weighing bids.

Highlighting the list is Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who will seek a second term in office. She has drawn a number of challengers in this year’s race, including several members of the Chicago City Council and a host of high-profile political names.

The first round of the election is slated for Feb. 28. If no candidate receives 50% of the vote in that election, then the top-two candidates would advance to a run-off, scheduled for April 4.

Here’s who is in, and who might still run, for Chicago mayor.

Declared Candidates

State Rep. Kam Buckner

Buckner was raised in Roseland and Washington Heights, and his current house district represents parts of Bronzeville, Gold Coast, Hyde Park, River North, South Shore and Woodlawn, among others. His platform includes what he calls a “4-Star Plan,” focusing on safety and justice, education, economic opportunity, and stabilizing the city’s finances.

You can read more about his campaign on his website.

Illinoi State Rep. Kam Buckner announced Thursday he plans to run for mayor of Chicago, throwing his hat into the ring amid a growing list of candidates. Mary Ann Ahern reports.

Frederick Collins

A 29-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, Collins has emphasized new investments and strategies in public safety as part of his campaign platform. He has also published platform planks on education and economic reforms on his website, which you can view here.

Ja’Mal Green

A community activist, Green has gained public attention for his work supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and he also has founded several community organizations, including the Small Business Repair Program and My turn to Own. He has also focused his efforts largely on addressing the problem of violence in the city.

You can learn more about Green on his Twitter account.

The list of contenders looking to unseat Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot continued to grow on Tuesday, as community activist Ja’Mal Green entered the field. NBC 5 Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern spoke with Green about the decision.

Brandon Johnson

A Cook County commissioner, Johnson was launched into the race with some powerful endorsements from the Chicago Teachers Union and the American Federation of Teachers. Johnson lives in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, and previously worked as a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools system before being elected to the Cook County Board.

You can read more about Johnson on his Twitter account.

1st District Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson is entering the crowded field in the 2023 Chicago mayoral election, NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern reports.

Ald. Sophia King

King has represented Chicago’s fourth ward since April 2016, having lived in the area for 30 years. Her campaign has had a heavy focus on transparency in government, on the city’s handling of violent crime, and on education, with tabs dedicated to those topics on her campaign website.  

Chicago Ald. Sophia King jumped into the increasingly-crowded mayoral field this week, saying that she is seeking to run as someone who can unite different constituencies in the city, something she says Mayor Lori Lightfoot has failed to do. Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern has more.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Lightfoot was elected mayor in 2019, winning a runoff against Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to replace Rahm Emanuel in office. Before her tenure as mayor, she served in a variety of positions, including as president of the Chicago Police Board. She has promised to work toward expanding economic opportunity across the city and to continue her work in bolstering education, police reform and neighborhood development if elected to a second term.

You can visit the mayor’s campaign website here.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot crisscrossed Chicago to kick off her re-election campaign, acknowledging public safety is the top issue and doubling down on her support for police Supt. David Brown. NBC 5 political reporter Mary Ann Ahern reports.

Ald. Raymond Lopez

Lopez was elected to the Chicago City Council in 2015, representing a 15th Ward that includes West Englewood, Back of the Yards and Gage Park. Lopez has been a fierce critic of Lightfoot, sand says that he would seek to overhaul public safety efforts, rebuild the city’s economy, and to express support for first responders and city employees.

You can visit Lopez’s campaign website to learn more about his policies.

While Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot hasn’t officially launched her re-election campaign, challengers are already lining up, including Ald. Ray Lopez. NBC 5 Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern has more.

Ald. Roderick Sawyer

Sawyer comes from a family of political leaders, with his father Eugene serving as Chicago’s mayor after the death of Harold Washington. He was elected to the City Council in 2011 and represents the 6th Ward on the city’s Far South Side. He currently serves as the chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, and serves on a variety of committees, including education and child development, as well as the rules and ethics committee.

You can read more about Sawyer on his aldermanic page.

With Ald. Roderick Sawyer announcing he will run for Chicago mayor next year, the question is, how does he do it? Although his father, Eugene Sawyer, was appointed mayor, an alderman has never been elected to the city’s top post. NBC 5 political reporter Mary Ann Ahern reports.

Paul Vallas

Vallas is the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and has also run in several statewide races, losing the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2002 and losing the 2014 governor’s race as Pat Quinn’s running mate. Vallas has cited his experiences in running large school districts as he’s hit the campaign trail, and has pledged to make massive changes to the city’s finances, address issues of public safety and to integrate parents more effectively into the educational system.

You can read more about Vallas on his campaign website.

NBC 5 Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern sits down with Paul Vallas, former Chicago Public Schools CEO, who announced Wednesday that he will run for mayor of Chicago in 2023.

Dr. Willie Wilson

Wilson, who has owned a series of McDonald’s franchises and various companies, has a long history of running for office in Chicago, with mayoral runs in 2015 and 2019 and a run for Senate in 2020. Wilson is running on a platform to “Recover, Restore and Rebuild” the city, and has pointed to his efforts to donate free fuel and masks to underserved communities as examples of how he’d begin to tackle issues in the city.

You can read more about Wilson on his campaign website.

With a burst of good will generated by his $1.2 million gas giveaways, millionaire businessman Willie Wilson on Monday joined the race to send Mayor Lori Lightfoot into political retirement after a single term.

Could Still Run

State Rep. La Shawn Ford

Ford ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2019, and has served in the Illinois General Assembly since 2007. He has primarily focused on social justice and civil rights, and has made headlines on a variety of fronts, including his 2020 call to abolish history classes in Illinois classrooms so that curricula could be reworked to include more coverage of the contributions of minority communities.

Rep. Jesús ‘Chuy’ García

García lost a head-to-head runoff against Emanuel in the 2015 mayoral race, and was elected to Congress for the first time in 2019. He has also served in the Illinois Senate and on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, and gained local fame for supporting Bernie Sanders in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

After a poll ran by the Congressman showed him beating incumbent mayor Lori Lightfoot in a two-way race, U.S. Rep. Chuy Garcia is mulling a run for mayor, NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern reports.

Ald. Brian Hopkins

Hopkins has served on the Chicago City Council since 2015, representing the 2nd Ward that includes parts of Lincoln Park. He has been a frequent critic of Lightfoot’s agenda, pushing against tax increases and calling on the mayor to offer more resources and support to combat crime in the downtown areas of the city.

Former Gov. Pat Quinn

Quinn served as Illinois’ treasurer in the early 90’s and became governor in 2009 when Gov. Rod Blagojevich was removed from office. He won reelection in 2010, but lost to Bruce Rauner in 2014. He also ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2018.

Ald. Tom Tunney

Tunney is currently the alderman for Chicago’s 44th Ward, and also is currently a vice mayor under Lightfoot. He is owner of the Ann Sather restaurant chain, and has become well-known for his pushback against development plans crafted by the Chicago Cubs and the Ricketts family. He announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection to his seat in the 44th Ward.

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