chicago politics

Gov. Pritzker Comments on Brandon Johnson's Victory in Mayoral Runoff, Says Mayor-Elect Will ‘Bring Vibrancy' To Chicago

Pritzker did not make an endorsement in the mayoral election, though his administration did release a statement during the campaign that appeared to criticize Paul Vallas

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker offered comments on the outcome of the Chicago mayoral runoff election on Wednesday, talking about the race at length for the first time since congratulating Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson on Tuesday night.

Pritzker acknowledged that Johnson's victory was considered to be an upset by many, noting that he felt many people were surprised by the outcome.

"There were people who thought he would lose by a larger margin than he ended up winning by, but he won. And he overcame, I think, suggestions that he couldn't," Pritzker said.

Pritzker added that he plans to meet with Mayor-elect Johnson within the coming weeks, and said that his administration will work to aid in the mayoral transition as they do with mayoral offices statewide.

In addition to continuing a message of collaboration and assistance with the transition period into Johnson's administration, Pritzker saw broader implications from the results of Tuesday's election.

"There is a change that's going on across the Midwest," Pritzker said at an event in Urbana Wednesday.

Pritzker added that he believes Johnson will "bring a vibrancy" to the city, while saying that the change in the Midwest has been driven by "people who believe in investing in workers, investing in families, investing in young people."

Johnson's victory coincided with Janet Protasiewicz's victory in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election, effectively flipping ideological balance of the state's top court towards liberals.

The outcome is poised to play a pivotal role in future rulings on voting rights, abortion restrictions and congressional redistricting in the state, as Republicans maintain control of both branches of the Wisconsin Legislature.

Pritzker evoked the "Blue Wall", referring to a solidly Democratic Upper Midwest of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan, all of which voted Democratic in every presidential election from 1992 to 2012.

In addition to the aforementioned states, Ohio and Iowa also voted Democratic in the 1992, 1996, 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, with Iowa voting Democratic in the 2000 election as well.

It's the image of a Midwestern Democratic stronghold that Pritzker and fellow Midwest Democrats are touting in an effort to bring the 2024 Democratic National Convention to Chicago.

Though Pritzker did not offer an endorsement in the runoff election, a statement attributed to his administration appeared to rebuke former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas after comments surfaced of Vallas criticizing the Pritzker's administration response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Chicago's Morning Answer, a conservative talk show.

“The next mayor of Chicago may be called upon to lead in a similar type of emergency and residents deserve to know if their next Mayor will listen to experts or instead to right wing talk show hosts when making decisions about people’s lives,” a statement from a Pritzker spokesperson said.

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