Paul Vallas to run for mayor, sources say

Sneed has learned the former CPS CEO — who has made previous unsuccessful bids for mayor and governor — plans to throw his hat in the ring next week.

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Paul Vallas. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Paul Vallas

Rich Hein/Sun-Times

It’s Lightfoot hot foot time! 

The race to unseat Mayor Lori Lightfoot is heating up.

Sneed has learned former Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas plans to officially enter Chicago’s mayoral election next Wednesday.

Vallas, the city budget director under former mayor Richard M. Daley who has a government service resume a mile long, lost his bid for mayor in 2019, placing ninth out of 14 candidates with just over 5% of the vote. 

A familiar voice in Illinois politics, Vallas also ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for governor of Illinois in 2002. He was CEO of CPS from 1995-2001 and later took top positions with school districts in Philadelphia and New Orleans.

Vallas has only said he would make an announcement on whether he would run in the upcoming race by Memorial Day. But he has already given interviews about what he would do to fix problems in Chicago.

Vallas, who served recently as an unpaid adviser to the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents Chicago police officers, strongly advocates for the removal of Police Supt. David Brown, whom he believes is woefully unprepared for the job.

“Clearly something is wrong about Chicago,” Vallas told the Sun-Times last month, citing the city’s extraordinarily number of murders and carjackings.

Vallas said he wants to get the city back on track with his self-described “management capability and financial knowhow.”

FOP President John Catanzara has also said he plans to run for mayor, while mayoral critic Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) and State Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago) have officially thrown their hats into the ring.

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