Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has released an internal from GBAO that finds her taking first place in the Feb. 28 nonpartisan primary as former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, who she says is the candidate she most wants to face in an April runoff, edges out Rep. Chuy Garcia for second.
The numbers are below, with the results of a previously unreleased GBAO poll conducted last month in parenthesis:
Mayor Lori Lightfoot: 25 (26)
former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas: 22 (14)
Rep. Chuy Garcia: 18 (25)
Wealthy perennial candidate Willie Wilson: 11 (14)
Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson: 9 (4)
State Rep. Kam Buckner: 2 (3)
Alderman Sophia King: 2 (2)
We’ve seen two other surveys from this month, and there’s no consensus on the state of the race. An internal for King from Lester & Associates put Garcia in first with 21% as Lightfoot edged out Vallas 15-10 for the second-place spot; King and Johnson were just behind with 8% each.
However, a M3 Strategies poll for a group called Americans for a Safer and Better Tomorrow, which has not made it clear who it’s backing, put Vallas in front with 26% as Garcia beat out Johnson 19-12 for second. That survey also placed Lightfoot in fourth place with just 10%.
Lightfoot, though, is releasing this GBAO poll to argue that, not only does she have a strong chance to make it out of next month’s nonpartisan primary, but that she can get the opponent she wants. “[F]olks, I would love to have Paul Vallas as my runoff challenger,” the mayor said, and while she didn’t elaborate, her campaign recently demonstrated how it would go after Vallas if it gets the chance.
While Vallas, like most politicians in this dark blue city, identifies as a Democrat, he accepted an endorsement earlier this month from the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, a police union led by prominent Trump supporter John Catanzara. Lightfoot’s team quickly responded that Vallas “should denounce Catanzara's "history of hate-filled rhetoric" instead of "standing alongside him and (carrying) the shared MAGA values into City Hall."
Politico notes that this new Lightfoot survey comes at a time when the incumbent has been running commercials promoting herself and tying Garcia to two disgraced figures, former crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried and former Illinois state House Speaker Michael Madigan. Vallas, by contrast, has not been on the receiving end of any TV attack ads even as he’s run his own positive messages, while Garcia has yet to take to the airwaves.