Vallas campaign predicts no clear winner in Chicago mayoral race election night – NBC Chicago

Paul Vallas’ War Room expects Tuesday’s mayoral run-off to be so close that the winner may not be known until days after the election, when most mail-in ballots will be counted.

“Chances are that election night will be too close to call,” Vallas campaign manager Brian Towne said Wednesday.

Veteran Democratic political strategist Joe Trippi, an adviser to Vallas’s campaign, said Chicagoans should “count” not knowing whether Vallas or Brandon Johnson will be their 57th mayor until days after polls close. The number of mail-in ballots is almost certain to be “greater than the margin” separating Vallas and Johnson, he said.

“People — not just in Chicago, but across the country — used mail-in ballots as the standard way to vote. There are so many of these people now that even if you have a big enough margin of victory come Election Day, there will be so many (outstanding) ballots. They may not all be made…we will have to wait for them,” Trippi said.

“We could be in a position where someone even has a decent lead but nobody can call it. There is no official way to do this until everything is in place. So it could take some time,” he added. “Count on it.”

Brandon Johnson’s team wouldn’t go that far, but acclaimed external and internal tracking polls show the five-week sprint is likely heading for a photo-finish.

Every ballot returned by 7 p.m. Monday will be counted on election night. The rest will have to wait. Technically, the Chicago Board of Elections has until April 18 to count all mail-in ballots postmarked by 7 p.m. on election night.

“People thought we would wait several days to find out who was in the second round and we were able to basically call him around 9 p.m.,” said Jason Lee, senior adviser for Johnson’s campaign.

“I don’t want to speculate on…when we’ll be able to call the race. We want to make sure that every vote is counted and the people of Chicago can have confidence in the results. »

Brandon Davis, senior media strategist for the Johnson campaign, added: “Our anxiety about being able to land things on election night is allayed a bit because we have embraced new ways that allow, frankly, more voters to do part of the process. who want to be part of the process. Our campaign rejoices.

In interviews Wednesday with the Sun-Times, both teams discussed how they plan to get their candidates across the finish line in what has turned into a battle for the heart and soul of Chicago.

The Vallas team was a bit more open.

They say Vallas will be Chicago’s next mayor if he can maintain his base in ethnic white neighborhoods on the northwest and southwest sides, downtown and in the more affluent northern lakeside neighborhoods, increase the turnout there up to 25%, getting 25% to 30% of the African-American vote and over 60% of the Latino vote.

Trippi expects the race to be determined by the undecided 10% of voters — many of whom are older, “moderate to conservative” African Americans — who “wrestle” with two questions: Does Paul Vallas ‘is not a Democrat’ and is Brandon Johnson ‘really out to defund the police?’

These voters “listen to everything and try to discern what is real, what is true. And the edge we have right now is with Dick Durbin, Bobby Rush, Jesse White, Sophia King. A slew of Democrats who say they know Paul Vallas. He’s a pro-choice Democrat,” Trippi said.

“As it becomes clearer for this group…we have a real opportunity to break away.”

Johnson’s team identifies “multiple paths to victory” and “strategies to execute them all,” Lee said.

It starts with “solidifying the African-American vote,” making Hispanic-majority neighborhoods a “competitive demographic battleground,” and “extending that as much as possible” to working-class white communities.

Their trump card could be an army of 2,000, including many from the Chicago Teachers Union, SEIU Locals 1 and 73, SEIU Healthcare and AFSCME Council 31. Vallas hopes to match that with help from the 26 unions that have backed him.

“On the edge of the lake, we did well on the first lap. We think we’re going to continue to do well, especially with female voters in those areas who believe in a Chicago that works for everyone and who are frankly turned off by some of the rhetoric,” Lee said, referring to the remarks. arsonists of the Fraternal Order of Police Chairman John Catanzara remarks denounced by Vallas.

On the eve of a rally for Johnson led by US Senator Bernie Sanders, Lee said, “We have this base in the Milwaukee (Avenue) corridor – these neighborhoods where we have done very well. We believe we can generate additional participation in these neighborhoods. There is a lot of enthusiasm that we can tap into. We will seek to generate as many votes as possible in our areas of strength.

The race became a choice between “two different visions” for Chicago and “two different strategies to provide real security and real economic opportunity,” Lee said.

“It’s a city that prides itself on democratic values. … The values ​​expressed by Mr. Vallas, which can be summed up as Republicanism, are not consistent with the average Chicago voter,” Lee added.

“If the values ​​aren’t good, it’s hard to believe the strategy won’t end up in a direction you don’t want to go.”

NBC Chicago

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