Chicago Mayoral Candidates Line Up, Camp Out to File Petitions – NBC Chicago

Chicago mayoral candidates and members of some campaigns camped out and the line for hopeful future mayors wrapped around the block as many waited to submit their petition signatures Monday morning.

In order to be an official candidate, each person must file a minimum of 12,500 valid signatures of registered city voters.

Candidates who submit their signatures on the first day are entered into a lottery to appear in the top spot of the ballot, historically a leg-up in elections.

One notable candidate, however, won’t be joining the line.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot will instead submit her petitions on the final possible day.

“We will be filing on Nov. 28,” she said earlier this month. “There’s no magic to it, but we’ll wait til the 28th to file, the last day to file, as we did four years ago.”

Under Chicago law, candidates who file on the final day are entered into a lottery for the last spot on the ballot, which could make them stand out in what’s sure to be a crowded field.

As for why Lightfoot is waiting, there are several schools of thought, with opponents suggesting that she needs more time to collect signatures, or that she wants there to be less time for those signatures to be subject to scrutiny, with candidates able to file challenges to petitions filed for city elections.

Lightfoot will seek a second term in office. She has drawn a number of challengers in this year’s race, including several members of the Chicago City Council and a host of high-profile political names.

The first round of the election is slated for Feb. 28. If no candidate receives 50% of the vote in that election, then the top-two candidates would advance to a run-off, scheduled for April 4.

Here’s who has announced plans to run so far:

Declared Candidates

State Rep. Kam Buckner

Buckner was raised in Roseland and Washington Heights, and his current house district represents parts of Bronzeville, Gold Coast, Hyde Park, River North, South Shore and Woodlawn, among others. His platform includes what he calls a “4-Star Plan,” focusing on safety and justice, education, economic opportunity, and stabilizing the city’s finances.

You can read more about his campaign on his website.

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Frederick Collins

A 29-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, Collins has emphasized new investments and strategies in public safety as part of his campaign platform. He has also published platform planks on education and economic reforms on his website, which you can view here.

Rep. Jesús ‘Chuy’ García

García lost a head-to-head runoff against Emanuel in the 2015 mayoral race, and was elected to Congress for the first time in 2019. He has also served in the Illinois Senate and on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, and gained local fame for supporting Bernie Sanders in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

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Ja’Mal Green

A community activist, Green has gained public attention for his work supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and he also has founded several community organizations, including the Small Business Repair Program and My turn to Own. He has also focused his efforts largely on addressing the problem of violence in the city.

You can learn more about Green on his Twitter account.

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Brandon Johnson

A Cook County commissioner, Johnson was launched into the race with some powerful endorsements from the Chicago Teachers Union and the American Federation of Teachers. Johnson lives in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, and previously worked as a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools system before being elected to the Cook County Board.

You can read more about Johnson on his Twitter account.

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Ald. Sophia King

King has represented Chicago’s fourth ward since April 2016, having lived in the area for 30 years. Her campaign has had a heavy focus on transparency in government, on the city’s handling of violent crime, and on education, with tabs dedicated to those topics on her campaign website.  

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Lightfoot was elected mayor in 2019, winning a runoff against Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to replace Rahm Emanuel in office. Before her tenure as mayor, she served in a variety of positions, including as president of the Chicago Police Board. She has promised to work toward expanding economic opportunity across the city and to continue her work in bolstering education, police reform and neighborhood development if elected to a second term.

You can visit the mayor’s campaign website here.

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Ald. Raymond Lopez

Lopez was elected to the Chicago City Council in 2015, representing a 15th Ward that includes West Englewood, Back of the Yards and Gage Park. Lopez has been a fierce critic of Lightfoot, sand says that he would seek to overhaul public safety efforts, rebuild the city’s economy, and to express support for first responders and city employees.

You can visit Lopez’s campaign website to learn more about his policies.

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Ald. Roderick Sawyer

Sawyer comes from a family of political leaders, with his father Eugene serving as Chicago’s mayor after the death of Harold Washington. He was elected to the City Council in 2011 and represents the 6th Ward on the city’s Far South Side. He currently serves as the chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, and serves on a variety of committees, including education and child development, as well as the rules and ethics committee.

You can read more about Sawyer on his aldermanic page.

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Paul Vallas

Vallas is the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and has also run in several statewide races, losing the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2002 and losing the 2014 governor’s race as Pat Quinn’s running mate. Vallas has cited his experiences in running large school districts as he’s hit the campaign trail, and has pledged to make massive changes to the city’s finances, address issues of public safety and to integrate parents more effectively into the educational system.

You can read more about Vallas on his campaign website.

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Dr. Willie Wilson

Wilson, who has owned a series of McDonald’s franchises and various companies, has a long history of running for office in Chicago, with mayoral runs in 2015 and 2019 and a run for Senate in 2020. Wilson is running on a platform to “Recover, Restore and Rebuild” the city, and has pointed to his efforts to donate free fuel and masks to underserved communities as examples of how he’d begin to tackle issues in the city.

You can read more about Wilson on his campaign website.

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