Chicago mayoral election: Vallas, Johnson blast each other in first runoff forum

Wednesday night was the first forum since Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson garnered the majority of votes, putting them in a runoff election.

The forum lasted an hour and started with controversy and questions for both candidates, such as whether Vallas is a Republican or Democrat, citing an interview from 2009 when he claimed, "I am more of a Republican than a Democrat."

"I’ve always registered in the Democratic primary. My history has always been as a Democrat," Vallas said.

However, Johnson had said, "When we elected the first Black President Barack Obama, it was at that point that Paul Vallas switched parties to become a Republican."


Meanwhile, the top priority for Chicagoans is getting a grip on crime. So Johnson was questioned about saying it was a "political goal" to defund the police.

"It’s why in my public safety plan we are going to promote, train, and hire 200 more detectives…the consent decree," Johnson said.

After the forum, both candidates took jabs at one another. Johnson slammed Vallas for his 2021 comments against teaching Critical Race Theory. Vallas has since said he advocates for teaching African American history year-round.

"This book was highlighting and lifting up the fact that Blackness in the city of Chicago has value, Paul Vallas banned that book," Johnson said.

Vallas was asked why he didn’t give a response to Johnson when he was accused of being associated with right-wing extremists.

"I didn’t want to turn it into a free for all, and this is what Johnson is going to do. He doesn’t want to run on his record, or lack of record," Vallas said.

The runoff election is April 4.