(The Center Square) – The final two candidates in the race to be Chicago’s next mayor will now make their final push before the April runoff.
Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson beat out seven other candidates to make the runoff election.
Vallas held a healthy lead, receiving nearly 35% of the votes counted with over 170,000 votes. Johnson beat out incumbent Lori Lightfoot for a spot in the runoff with over 104,000 votes.
The Chicago Tribune reported the Vallas campaign raised just over $6 million in funding for his campaign, which will continue into April.
Vallas has the backing of the Chicago Police Department and has focused his campaign on public safety and retaining officers.
“First of all, you slow the exodus. When you lose 2,000 officers in two years, you have an exodus problem, and that won’t be accomplished until you have new leadership, community-based police strategy, and you get the officers on a new schedule,” Vallas said.
Johnson, who had raised nearly $4 million for his campaign, has the backing of the Chicago Teachers Union and said no child would be left behind if he is elected mayor.
“It is not just what we are fighting for, it’s who we are fighting for,” Johnson said. “No child under a Johnson administration will ever feel like they are not good enough to have the best.”
Johnson took shots at Vallas during his post-election speech.
“That’s the truth about Paul Vallas, he has literally failed everywhere he has gone,” Johnson said. “He is backed by the same forces who have done nothing while crime has paralyzed our city.”
Vallas said his previous successes have come with the backing of the community.
“I have had success because I have always had the good sense to listen to the community to empower the community and draw my leadership from the community,” Vallas said. “Our campaign isn’t over yet, and we will be spending the next five weeks talking to the people of our city about the need to elect a leader who is transparent, accountable, collaborative, and who puts public safety at the top of our priorities.”
The two candidates will now go head to head over the next few weeks before voters make their final decision on April 4.