What You Need to Know About Tomorrow’s High-Stakes Elections in Chicago and Wisconsin

Voters will head to the polls tomorrow in Chicago and Wisconsin to elect the Windy City’s next mayor and the newest member of the Badger State’s Supreme Court in the most consequential elections of 2023 so far.


Voters will head to the polls tomorrow in Chicago and Wisconsin to elect the Windy City’s next mayor and the newest member of the Badger State’s Supreme Court in the most consequential elections of 2023 so far.

  • In Wisconsin, the officially nonpartisan race between conservative ex-Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly and liberal Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz will determine control of the state supreme court. The outcome will have ramifications for abortion policy, redistricting, and other key policies in Wisconsin and is the most expensive supreme court race in US history.
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court has a narrow 4-3 conservative majority, and Tuesday’s election will determine control over the seat of a retiring conservative justice – and thus, the court. More than half of all ads have touched on abortion, while Kelly has promoted his support from law enforcement.
  • The Chicago mayoral runoff between moderate ex-schools chief Paul Vallas and progressive teachers union organizer and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson has revealed intense divisions among Chicago Democrats on crime and education.
  • Vallas and Johnson emerged from February’s primary as the last men standing from a large field of candidates which included incumbent mayor Lori Lightfoot, who finished a distant third.
  • Over the last weekend before the election, Johnson campaigned at a megachurch but had to defend his comments characterizing the election as the choice between Black labor and white wealth. Johnson now claims, “We’re not dividing this city. We’re bringing the city together.”
  • Vallas fired back: “The only one who has formed any racial division is Brandon Johnson and that comment is just the latest comment to do that.” He continued, “Race should not be a factor in this race and it only serves to divide our city. I am here to unite our city.” The first-place finisher in the initial round also campaigned at a megachurch accompanied by Jesse White, the former Illinois Secretary of State and one of the most prominent Black officials in state government.
  • A Victory Research poll released on Sunday night predicted a close finish in the race to lead America’s third largest city. Vallas led Johnson by a 49.6%-45.4% margin, just outside the poll’s margin of error.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • CNN assessed the “racial and ideological divides” in Chicago’s mayoral race. Vallas, who is Greek-American, campaigned on public safety and hiring more police, while Johnson, who is black, has run a stridently left-wing campaign. Both candidates have courted Black and Latino voters in the runoff.
  • Politico covered the Chicago mayoral election’s high stakes for the Chicago Teachers Union. The CTU, known for “cultivating a distinct and influential brand of street-fighting, social justice-driven unionism that addresses more than classroom size and teacher pay” has gone all in for Johnson, one if its own organizers. A Vallas victory would be a great setback for the CTU as the ex-schools chief has been an outspoken foe of Chicago’s most powerful public sector union.
  • Vox argued the Wisconsin Supreme Court race is “the most important election of 2023.” The election “could not only determine whether abortion is legal in Wisconsin after the Supreme Court last year overturned Roe v. Wade, but it could also lead to a redraw of the state’s heavily gerrymandered legislative and congressional maps… where Republicans currently only have the slimmest majority.”



  • The Washington Examiner reported Protasiewicz, the Democratic Supreme Court candidate, has been “working overtime” to counter attacks that she is “soft on crime.” Protasiewicz has been compelled to defend her sentencing record after a wave of GOP criticism.
  • According to Fox News, the biggest news story in the country – the indictment of Donald Trump – is unlikely to affect the outcome of the Wisconsin election. Trump has not involved himself in the race, hasn’t endorsed the Republican candidate, and the GOP candidate appears to be putting some distance between himself and the former president.
  • The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board applauded the Chicago Teachers Union members who are fighting back against union bosses who want to force every CTU member to finance the CTU’s spending on behalf of Brandon Johnson, a CTU organizer and the left-wing candidate for Chicago mayor.

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© Dominic Moore, 2023