Nine fewer noteworthy presidential candidates have declared (so far) in 2024 compared to the 2020 cycle

Welcome to the Thursday, March 2, Brew. 

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Five noteworthy presidential candidates have declared for 2024, nine fewer than this point in the 2020 cycle
  2. What’s next in the Chicago mayoral election
  3. Listen to this week’s episode of On the Ballot, our weekly podcast

Five noteworthy presidential candidates have declared for 2024, nine fewer than this point in the 2020 cycle

Last week, we added two noteworthy 2024 presidential candidates to our list: entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy (R), and author and 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson (D). Our total tally currently stands at five noteworthy 2024 presidential candidates.

Ramaswamy joins former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (R), former President Donald Trump (R), and former Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton (R) in the Republican primary. 

Williamson is the first Democratic candidate to have declared a campaign for the nomination. President Joe Biden (D) has yet to officially announce whether he intends to run for a second term.

At this point in the 2020 cycle, a 14 noteworthy candidates had announced their campaigns:

  1. Jan. 20, 2017: Donald Trump (R)
  2. Aug. 10, 2017: John Delaney (D)
  3. Nov. 6, 2017: Andrew Yang (D)
  4. Jan. 1, 2019: Tulsi Gabbard (D)
  5. Jan. 12, 2019: Julián Castro (D)
  6. Jan. 15, 2019: Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
  7. Jan. 21, 2019: Kamala Harris (D)
  8. Jan. 23, 2019: Pete Buttigieg (D)
  9. Jan. 28, 2019: Marianne Williamson (D)
  10. Feb. 1, 2019: Cory Booker (D)
  11. Feb. 9, 2019: Elizabeth Warren (D)
  12. Feb. 12, 2019: Amy Klobuchar (D)
  13. Feb. 19, 2019: Bernie Sanders (I)
  14. March 1, 2019: Jay Inslee (D)

Biden, the eventual Democratic nominee and winner of the 2020 presidential election, announced on April 25, 2019.

In the 2016 election cycle, no noteworthy candidates had launched their campaigns as of March 1, 2015. The first announcement came on March 23 from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Hillary Clinton (D), the eventual Democratic nominee, announced her campaign on April 12, 2015. Trump, the eventual Republican nominee, announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015.

What else was happening around this time in the 2020 presidential cycle? Here’s a selection of items that were featured in our presidential news briefing newsletter on March 1, 2019:

  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee became the 13th Democratic contender to enter the 2020 presidential race. In a statement, Inslee said, “I’m running for president because I am the only candidate who will make defeating climate change our nation’s number one priority.”
  • Sabato’s Crystal Ball released their initial 2020 Electoral College ratings with 248 votes at least leaning Republican and 244 at least leaning Democratic. Notably absent from the toss-up column were Florida and Michigan, which were labeled as leaning Republican and leaning Democratic, respectively.
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) made her second visit to Iowa as a presidential candidate.
  • Flashback from March 1, 2015: The Los Angeles Times discussed a possible presidential run from Jerry Brown, the governor of California. Brown, who had run against Bill Clinton in the Democratic primary in 1992, did not enter the race.

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What’s next in the Chicago mayoral election 

Let’s travel back in time two days, instead of four years, and look back at Chicago’s general election. 

Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas advanced from Tuesday’s election and will face each other in a runoff on April 4. Incumbent Lori Lightfoot finished in third place and did not advance to the runoff. She is the first Chicago mayor in 34 years not to win re-election. 

Nine candidates ran in Tuesday’s general election. Because no candidate received more than 50% of the vote, the top-two vote-getters advanced to the runoff.

With 99% of the votes in, Vallas and Johnson received 33.8% and 20.3% of the votes, respectively.

Lightfoot received 17.1% of the vote, and U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D) received 13.7%. No other candidate received more than 10% of the vote. 

Vallas is the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools and was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2014. Ahead of the Feb. 28 election, Vallas highlighted public safety, decreased public school enrollment, and the city budget as key campaign issues. Vallas ran in the 2019 mayoral general election and finished ninth with 5.4% of the vote.

In his speech Tuesday night, Vallas said, “Public safety is the fundamental right of every American: It is a civil right and it is the principal responsibility of government. […] And we will have a safe Chicago. We will make Chicago the safest city in America.”

Johnson, a teacher with Chicago Public Schools and an organizer with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), was elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners as a Democrat in 2018. Ahead of Tuesday’s election, he indicated his campaign priorities included “fully funded public schools, affordable housing, green jobs and access to mental health care.” 

“Tonight is about building a Chicago that truly invests in its people,” Johnson said on Tuesday night. “[…] The finances of this city belong to the people of the city. So, we’re gonna invest in the people of the city,” he said. 

Among the elected officials and groups who endorsed Vallas ahead of Tuesday’s election were four city aldermen, the Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.

Two U.S. Representatives, nine city aldermen, seven state legislators, five county commissioners, and the local, state, and national chapters of the American Federation of Teachers were among the officials and groups who endorsed Johnson. 

Looking ahead at the April 4 runoff, the Associated Press’ Claire Savage and Teresa Crawford said there were “clear contrasts between Vallas and Johnson.” 

“[Vallas] has called for adding hundreds of police officers to patrol the city, saying crime is out of control and morale among officers sunk to a new low during Lightfoot’s tenure,” Savage and Crawford said. 

“Johnson has positioned himself to the political left of the incumbent mayor, advocating for reduced fares on public transit, canceling the city’s contract with ShotSpotter and a real estate transfer tax on the sale of multi-million dollar homes,” NBC5’s Peter Marzano said.

According to CNN’s Eric Bradner, “The big question over the next five weeks is whether Vallas’ more conservative message will attract enough support to win in a city where nearly 83% of votes in the 2020 presidential race went to the Democratic ticket.”

Although municipal elections in Chicago are officially nonpartisan, candidates are typically affiliated with one of the major political parties. Vallas, Johnson, and six of the other candidates who ran on Feb. 28 are Democrats, while one is an independent. The last Republican mayor of Chicago, William Thompson, left office in 1931.

This year’s contest is the third consecutive mayoral election to go to a runoff since Chicago mayoral elections became nonpartisan in 1999.

The 2019 contest, the city’s second open mayoral election since 1947, also had a nine-candidate field. That year, Lightfoot advanced to the runoff with 18% of the vote, followed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle with 16%. Lightfoot defeated Preckwinkle in the runoff, 74% to 26%.

In the 2019 runoff, Lightfoot raised $7.1M in funds and Preckwinkle raised $5.4M, for a combined total of $12.5M. Lightfoot’s largest contributor was Liuna Chicago Laborers’ District Council PAC ($0.5M), and Preckwinkle’s largest contributor was the SEIU Illinois Council PAC Fund ($2M). 

All 50 seats on the city council were also up for election on Tuesday. As of Wednesday evening, 14 city council elections could be headed to a runoff. This year’s election was the first to use new ward maps drawn in 2022. 

Chicago also held general elections for city clerk, city treasurer, and police district councils.

Keep reading 

Listen to the latest episode of On the Ballot, our weekly podcast

On the Ballot, our weekly podcast, takes a closer look at the week’s top political stories.

In this week’s episode, host Victoria Rose and Ballotpedia’s Marquee Staff Writer Ellen Morrissey update our listeners on where things stand in the 2024 presidential race. Victoria and Ellen discuss presidential election deadlines, noteworthy candidates, early primary states, and more!

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