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 Mayor Lori Lightfoot conceded defeat Tuesday night, ending her efforts for a second term and setting the stage for Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson to run against former Chicago Public Schools CEO Vallas for Chicago mayor.
Chicago mayoral candidate Paul Vallas smiles as he speaks at his election night event on Feb. 28, 2023.Nam Y. Huh / AP

A self-funding candidate means both Chicago mayoral hopefuls can raise big money

Vallas loaned himself $100,100 on Wednesday, triggering the lifting of many campaign contribution limits.


Both of Chicago's mayoral hopefuls will now be allowed to accept largely unlimited campaign contributions because one of them triggered a rule lifting many direct contribution caps in the race.

Former Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas, one of the two candidates who advanced to the April runoff, loaned himself $100,100 on Wednesday, new campaign finance reports show.

While Illinois campaign finance laws usually govern elections in the state, there's a loophole — if one candidate in a down-ballot election accepts $100,000 in either self-funding or donations from their immediate family, all other candidates are also able to directly accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations or political action committees.

So Vallas' move means that both he and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson will now be able to take advantage of that new landscape.

It's not uncharted terrain for the candidates — it was the same situation in the primary because businessman Willie Wilson loaned his mayoral race millions ahead of Tuesday's vote, where Wilson fell short of making the runoff, along with six others. And some other more specific contribution caps remain (like the limit on donations from companies doing business with the city, per WTTW), but the caps are largely off.