Bridgeport is sticking to Paul Vallas like lint.
The former Bridgeport, CT school chief, leading in the polls for next week’s Chicago mayoral election, resides in the Windy City enclave Bridgeport.
Vallas has fended off questions about his residency, insisting he’s resided in the South Side neighborhood for more than a year, and its all a smear campaign.
Former Mayor Bill Finch, who brought Vallas to Bridgeport more than a decade ago following a state takeover of city schools, reversed by the Connecticut Supreme Court, is pumping up Vallas to Chicago voters.
“Paul is the best problem solver around,” Finch penned on his LinkedIn page. “Hire him to fix a troubled City and enjoy the benefits of his leadership! He helped me fix my City when I was Mayor of Bridgeport, CT.”
Vallas is running on a “crisis management” platform heavily focused on crime.
Early voting is underway for the February 28 general election. Vallas is the lone white candidate in a large field. A runoff will take place among the top finishers if no candidate cracks 50 percent, a likely bunched-field scenario.
Vallas lived Downtown during his years as city school chief.
Labeled an education fixer including stints in Philadelphia and Chicago, Vallas stormed into Bridgeport more than a decade ago after Finch’s mayoral administration engineered a state takeover of beleaguered city schools, with the backing of the local school board.
Vallas lasted about two years in Bridgeport. In 2014 he ran for lieutenant governor of Illinois losing on the ticket of incumbent Pat Quinn. In 2019 he fell short running for mayor of Chicago. Prior to that in 2002, he lost a tight Democratic primary for governor. He’s well schooled in Chicago politics.