Chicago Mayor Election 2023: Paul Vallas, Brandon Johnson debate the performance of Kim Foxx, the school's police officer

CHICAGO (WLS) — Sitting feet apart at the same table, the Chicago mayoral candidates drifted apart on the issue during Wednesday night's debate.

Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas launched attacks against each other.

“He remains a paid employee of the Chicago Teachers' Union. At the end of the day, what has he run? What has he managed? He chose the budget. He never managed a budget,” Vallas said.

“We all know someone like Paul who failed time and time again and was allowed to fail again and again,” Johnson said.

They were asked to consider the performance of Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx.

“He has led with extraordinary integrity. He has been part of the kind of reform that is needed,” Johnson said.

But, Vallas voiced his concerns about Foxx.

“He has been non-aggressive in keeping dangerous criminals off the streets, and the data clearly shows that,” said Vallas.

And, the two men differ over whether police are needed in and around schools.

Vallas claimed that “police officers prevented the active shooter”, while Johnson focused on the need to “restore the distrust that exists in our community”.

Meanwhile, a high-profile corruption case and high-profile police shooting were also injected into the Chicago mayoral race on Wednesday.

Former Governor Pat Quinn, in support of Vallas, raised concerns about ComEd and the new city deal as the corruption trials of several former executives played out in Federal Court. And, Laquan McDonald's relatives supported Johnson at his Englewood event.

Quinn said Chicago needed a mayor who would stand up for the people, and stand up to companies like ComEd, which were seeking new city contracts while several former executives were on trial for corruption.

“We need a Chicago mayor who is going to tell those big corporations that they're not going to take advantage of Chicago people and businesses,” Quinn said.

Johnson, who participated in the women's roundtable meeting, also made his campaign to a church in Englewood that hosts a daycare center, touting its plans for universal child care.

“And, making sure that we pay our childcare workers fairly. They really do care for the people of Chicago. We have to look after the people who care for people,” Johnson said.

Johnson took questions from the audience. People gathered at the church also heard from Tracey Hunter, McDonald's grandmother, who said tackling crime takes time, while urging support for Johnson.

SEE ALSO | Paul Vallas said he made a donation from the police charged in the Laquan McDonald shooting

“Like I said, ‘Give him a chance.' You give the guy a chance, you never know what the outcome will be,” said Hunter.

Previously, Vallas received support from a number of Polish community leaders during a visit to the Polish National Alliance, where he expressed his support for restoring Pulaski Day for schools. However, he also spoke of the need to restore public safety in neighborhoods and public transport.

“Obviously, those are my top priorities, and I'm going to move quickly in the first 100 days to do those things to make sure Chicago is the safest city in America,” Vallas said.

Johnson, meanwhile, is encouraging people to vote early.

“I'm counting on all of you to talk to your families, your friends, your neighbors about what is at stake for all of you,” Johnson said.

Quinn, who appointed Vallas as his deputy deputy governor in 2014, has shrugged off their loss in that race to Bruce Rauner.

“But what is clear, in Chicago, our ticket won a landslide,” said Quinn.

Quinn raised eyebrows when he backed Jesus “Chuy” Garcia over Vallas during the nine-candidate race, but he now says Vallas is the candidate for the middle class family.

“It's very important to have a mayor who is a champion for consumers and taxpayers who believe in term limits. I think that's very important. Paul signed our petition a few years ago to limit mayor terms,” ​​he said.

The candidates will take part in another debate on Wednesday night as they try to win over undecided voters, with the time until the election fast dwindling.