• Michael McDevitt
    MAR 30, 2023

    Days from election, Vallas far out-fundraising Johnson following key labor endorsements

    Former CPS CEO Paul Vallas and Cook County Comm. Brandon Johnson give victory speeches at Election Night watch parties on Feb. 28, 2023, as both head into an April runoff for mayor. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

    Chicago mayoral candidate Paul Vallas spent the last several weeks collecting nearly double the amount of donations compared to Cook County Comm. Brandon Johnson (D-1) as Vallas has earned endorsements from across the political spectrum and from key labor groups.

    The Daily Line previously reported that Vallas, former Chicago Public Schools CEO, and Johnson had each raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars since entering the runoff period March 1. Though the candidates drew from different sources of financing.

    Vallas had raised at least $2 million between March 1 and March 10, and Johnson had raised at least $1.6 million in the same time frame, though Vallas’ biggest donations came from private equity and capital investment firms whereas Johnson relied heavily on large labor contributions.

    Related: Donations to Vallas and Johnson since making runoff show difference in funding sources between candidates  

    Since March 10, Vallas has brought in at least another $7.5 million in contributions and transfers to his campaign committee. Johnson has brought in at least $3.8 million in contributions and transfers during the same time.

    Vallas still has the backing of many investment firms and private equity, though he’s expanded his pool of labor money following endorsements from multiple unions in the last several weeks. 

    Though supportive of Mayor Lori Lightfoot in the Feb. 28 election — having donated $25,000 to her campaign in December — the LiUNA Chicago Laborers' District Council PAC transferred $400,000 into the Vallas campaign committee March 23 following their endorsement of his candidacy in the runoff.

    And though failed mayoral candidate U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.) is backing Johnson in the runoff, a $1 million pledge previously made to Garcia by International Union Operating Engineers Local 150 has gone to Vallas.  

    Vallas is also backed by Plumbers Local 130, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134 and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 9.

    Local 399 gave $100,000 to the Vallas campaign March 22. 

    The Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC transferred $500,000 to Vallas’ campaign committee on March 20. Delaware Street Capital President Andrew Bluhm has given $300,000 since March 10, and Madison Dearborn Partners co-CEO Paul Finnegan has given $200,000 since March 10.  

    Linden Capital Partners CEO Anthony Davis gave $200,000 March 21. Hackberry Endowment Partners gave $200,000 to the Vallas campaign March 23. Morningstar Executive Chairman Joseph Mansueto gave $250,000 March 23, and the Laborers' Political League gave $200,000 the same day. Craig Duchossois, executive chair of The Duchossois Group, gave Vallas $250,000 March 24. 

    Johnson, meanwhile, has continued to draw from educational labor groups, healthcare workers and service workers unions. 

    The AFSCME International Union PAC, representing public employees at the state, county and city level, gave Johnson $100,000 March 24. AFSCME Council 31 has endorsed Johnson. 

    The American Federation of Teachers committee gave Johnson’s campaign $500,000 March 24. AFT Local 943 has endorsed Johnson. 

    The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has consistently been a big fundraiser for Johnson, a former teacher and CTU organizer. Since March 10, CTU has given Johnson at least $1.2 million.  

    Johnson has also continued to receive financial support from various chapters of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Johnson is endorsed by SEIU Local 1, Local 73, the SEIU Healthcare union and SEIU Healthcare Committee of Interns and Residents. 

    SEIU International PAC gave Johnson $750,000 March 24, and the SEIU Illinois Council PAC Fund gave Johnson $500,000 March 13. SEIU Local 1 gave Johnson $100,000 March 17, and SEIU Local 73 gave $75,000 March 27.  

    Johnson also received a $70,000 transfer into his campaign from the Brooklyn-based Working Families Party on March 24. 

    Johnson’s campaign also reported a $114,000 in-kind contribution March 21 from SEIU Healthcare Illinois-Indiana PAC, which went toward digital advertising. 

    Vallas, who earned the largest vote share in the Feb. 28 election, has consistently led over Johnson in recent polls and has secured endorsements from former mayoral candidates across the ideological spectrum — Ald. Sophia King (4), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6), activist Ja’Mal Green and businessman Willie Wilson. Vallas is also endorsed by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, former Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and former CTU president Deborah Lynch. 

    Johnson has been endorsed by two former mayoral candidates — Garcia and state Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago). The county commissioner’s endorsements also include U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), U.S. Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.), U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and U.S. Rep. Jonathan Jackson (D-Ill.).

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