Mayor Johnson Vows the Fight to Brings Chicago Home Isn’t Over


Tahman Bradley and Eli Ong

2 hours ago

CHICAGO — When Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson ran for office, he embraced the “Bring Chicago Home” cause, promising to get the referendum passed. But as of Wednesday night, it appears he hasn’t kept that promise.

Thousands of mail-in ballots still need to be counted, but voters so far appear to have rejected the measure.

With 98% of precincts reporting, “No” votes outnumber “Yes” votes by a 53.7 to 46.3 percentage point, or a margin of just over 22,600 votes.

For Johnson, it is a spectacular loss, the first test of his agenda of taxing the rich to invest in the people, but the mayor said he is not deterred.

“There are 68,000 people who are homeless,” Johnson said Wednesday. “There is not a fight that we have undertaken that we do not have the ability to win. [So] guess what? Seat belt.”

The referendum proposed increasing the transfer tax on properties sold over $1 million, while reducing the tax on sales under $1 million, with the money raised going to help the city combat homelessness .

The Chicago Teachers Union, Working Families United and other progressive groups that have been successful in recent elections were unable to overcome a $2 million campaign against Bring Chicago Home that was waged by real estate agents, building owners and managers.

With voter turnout in Chicago on track to be the lowest seen in the city in 80 years, Johnson also hinted that he might try again in a future election.

“We’re going to continue to organize,” Johnson said. “Look, we are going to continue organizing. You all know what I am, right?

While Johnson remained optimistic, his longtime supporters said it’s time to regroup.

“We have to take a hard look at what exactly happened, develop an analysis and find a way to move forward,” said Ald. Carlos Ramírez-Rosa (35th Pavilion).

Some city leaders speculated that part of the reason the referendum appears headed for failure is because the ballot question did not provide specific details about the spending plan.

“I think people right now are clearly in a moment of crisis. “There are so many opportunities, not just in the city, but across government,” said Ald. André Vásquez (40th Pavilion). “[Voters] We want to have a greater sense of confidence in decision making and I think to achieve this we need to provide more details and plans. You have to show your work.”


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