Chicago heads to polls in heated mayoral election | Chicago

Pollsters and meteorologists are predicting a tempestuous election day in Chicago, the third largest city in the US.

The election pits two Democrats from the furthest ends of their party’s spectrum against each other on Tuesday. Public safety is the number one issue and Democrats across the country are watching to see if Brandon Johnson, a progressive who has previously supported the defund the police movement, will defeat Paul Vallas, who nabbed the endorsement of Chicago’s police union and once described himself as a Republican.

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The latest poll for the mayoral race as of Monday evening put Vallas at 49.6% with Johnson, the Cook county commissioner, trailing behind with 45.4%. That leaves both candidates battling it out for just 5% of undecided voters in Chicago.

Johnson and Vallas are going head-to-head following a crowded mayoral primary in February. In that race, incumbent mayor Lori Lightfoot won voters in Chicago’s majority Black wards on the South and West Sides while Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García won Hispanic voters on the West Side. Now those voters are up for grabs on Tuesday. Over the last several weeks, Johnson and Vallas have made their case to Black and Hispanic residents, holding rallies at local churches and gathering endorsements from Black and Hispanic politicians.

Meanwhile, election day looks bleak with meteorologists predicting severe weather and possible tornadoes across the region. Election officials have already advised residents to avoid the storms and vote early. The worst weather will not roll in until the evening and the risk of tornadoes near Chicago is highly dependent on sustained storms, according to Matt Friedlein, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Chicago.

While just 33% of Chicagoans cast a ballot in February, early voting is already outpacing the primary.

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