Former GOP Illinois gubernatorial candidate takes jab at Johnson in Chicago mayoral race

Associated Press/John O'Connor

A former hard-right Illinois gubernatorial candidate took several jabs at Chicago mayoral contender Brandon Johnson on Wednesday ahead of the city’s mayoral runoff next month.

Darren Bailey, a former GOP state lawmaker who lost his gubernatorial bid to take on Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) last November, weighed in on the Chicago mayoral race, which is slated for April 4 and features candidates Johnson, a Cook County commissioner, and Paul Vallas, a former CEO of Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

Bailey said in a Facebook Live video that “Brandon Johnson has the capability to be as bad, if not worse, than [Mayor] Lori Lightfoot” and claimed “If they elect Brandon Johnson, it’s going to be a dark day for not only Chicago, but Illinois, I believe.”

Though Bailey did not formally back Vallas in his Facebook Live video, that didn’t stop Johnson’s campaign from seizing on the former state lawmaker’s comments and claiming in a press release that Bailey “endorsed” the former CPS CEO.

Meanwhile, a photo of Vallas posing with Bailey at an event last year while Bailey was a GOP gubernatorial candidate has resurfaced on Twitter. Bailey said in a Facebook post last May that the event was a Polish American Police Association awards banquet.

The Hill has reached out to Vallas’ campaign for comment.

The comments come ahead as Vallas has sought to distance himself from past comments in which he’s previously suggested that he’s aligned more with Republicans than Democrats. During a WGN-TV debate on Tuesday night, Vallas was asked about comments he made last year in which he claimed that the city’s “been dominated by Democrats” for decades and asked “what do we have to show for it?”  

Vallas has argued during the race that he’s been a “lifelong Democrat” and that he’s run as a Democrat in previous races, including as a running mate to former Gov. Pat Quinn (D) in 2014.

Tags Brandon Johnson Chicago Chicago mayoral race Chicago Public Schools Darren Bailey Darren Bailey Facebook Illinois J.B. Pritzker Lori Lightfoot Lori Lightfoot Paul Vallas

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