Similarly, Brandon Johnson, a Chicago labor organizer, was hammered by his rival for previously leaning into the “defund the police” movement. But he stressed that his opponent Paul Vallas was not actually a Democrat, forcing him to repeatedly defend his credentials.
Both Protasiewicz and Johnson prevailed.
“Voters have shown an understanding that public safety is much more nuanced than the way Republicans try to frame it. That it’s not just about having adequate law enforcement on the streets to promote public safety, but also about investing in mental health and addiction treatment and fighting poverty said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker in an interview with POLITICO. “There are not only short-term efforts to fight crime, but also long-term efforts.”
While Tuesday night’s two races were non-partisan, they each contained a left-vs-right ideological contrast that offered a temperature reading as to where voters stand on key issues. Johnson emphasized taxes on the ultra-rich, while Protasiewicz highlighted the protection of abortion rights as well as voter concerns about threats to American democracy.
The direct issue, however, was crime.
It was not lost on state or national officials who had lost Johnson’s race, they would have been forced to push back hard against the narrative that his ‘defund’ position cost them the keys to the hotel. of town. Instead, with concerns about crime effectively dominating the race, voters weren’t buying solutions that simply called for more police to be added. And they rejected the controversial police union that fought against Johnson.
“The narrative that emerged from the first election was that voters were scared,” said Geoff Garin, Democratic pollster and pollster. “Now, after the last election, the story is that while voters are scared, they’re not mad.”
Pritzker, who helped raise critical funds for television ads in Protasiewicz’s race, said the GOP tactic of portraying Democrats as soft on crime was also being used mid-stream and not was also not working in Illinois and several key battleground states.
“We have all been attacked on the simplistic view of Republicans and we are all people who believe in approaching public safety in a nuanced and multifaceted way. We told voters that and they responded,” Pritzker said.
“We’ve seen it over and over again,” he added, pointing to Democratic wins for 2022 governors Tim Walz of Minnesota, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Tony Evers of Wisconsin as well as his own in Illinois.
In Pritzker’s race last year, his conservative opponent, Darren Bailey, hammered the governor on Chicago’s persistent crime problem. Pritzker said polls showed crime was “a significant issue” for voters, “but that didn’t mean they wanted to pick the most conservative or Republican candidate. It got bored.
The same thing happened in Chicago’s mayoral election on Tuesday, said Pritzker, who did not endorse the race that saw Mayor Lori Lightfoot kicked out after the first ballot. Its management crime management was attacked by the eight candidates she faced in the first round, including Johnson and Vallas.
Vallas, a former public schools chief, latched onto people’s fears about carjackings in neighborhoods that hadn’t experienced it to the extent they do now. He offered to increase the number of police on the streets and talked about opening schools for alternative programs for young adults.
Johnson, who had previously said defunding the police was “a goal,” insisted during the race that he was not suggesting defunding the police. He said he supports adding 200 detectives to solve crimes and fund social service programs that get to the heart of the crime problem.
Attention to Chicago and its handling of crime was also on the national Democratic Party’s radar, with Biden weighing where the 2024 Democratic convention should be held. Chicago is a finalist, as are New York and Atlanta.
Pritzker called the Midwest a “blue wall” for Democrats, adding, “It was proven last night. I think that puts us in pole position to win the convention.
Some members of the Chicago contingent pushing their DNC bid feared that Vallas winning the mayoral race would complicate their efforts given critical remarks he had made about Chicago itself and a host of top elected leaders, including Pritzker. They were heartened that Biden and DNC officials waited until after the mayoral race to decide.
For Biden, however, the biggest impact is likely to be in Wisconsin, a state that is central to his 2024 chances. abortion since the Supreme Court overturned it. Roe vs. Wade Last year.
“Americans want the freedom to make reproductive health decisions without government interference,” Jean-Pierre said. “Yet, however, you see elected Republicans are more determined than ever to attack these basic freedoms that Americans should have.”
Brian Stryker, a Democratic strategist who conducted polls for Protasiewicz, said the state’s 1849 abortion ban was a priority for Wisconsin voters. So did questions of whether elected officials there would certify future contests. The fact that Protasiewicz has performed so well in suburban counties should serve as a powerful signal to Democrats across the region, he said.
Garin agreed, but went even further.
“Wisconsin is evidence of a backlash against MAGA’s takeover and its assault on democracy and rule by the people,” he said. “And Democrats in 2024 would be well advised to exploit that.”