Chicago/ Politics & Govt
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Published on April 18, 2024
Chicago Man Launches Campaign for Mayoral Recall Referendum Amid Criticisms of City LeadershipSource: X/Mayor Brandon Johnson

Bucking the progressive tide in Chicago, one man has stepped up to try to give residents a do-over on their choice for mayor. Daniel Boland, a 58-year-old former technology salesman, living in the city's Lakeview neighborhood, is starting a campaign to put the power of recalling the city's mayor into the hands of Chicago voters. According to the Chicago Tribune, Boland has formed a political action committee aiming to raise the issue on the November ballot.

In what appears to be a major challenge, Boland must gather at least 56,463 valid signatures by August 5 to get the referendum on the ballot. The current laws in Illinois, which currently do not possess a legal mechanism for recalling mayors, would then require, after voting in the affirmative, an even larger number of signatures for an actual recall vote. This hurdle, Boland told the Chicago Sun-Times, is motivated by greater concerns about Johnson's handling of youth crime and a migrant crisis.

Mayor Brandon Johnson, who has already made waves in his tenure by abolishing the sub-minimum wage and instituting paid leave policies, called the recall effort "disingenuous" and a maneuver backed by "extreme right wing" political opponents. "It’s some dude from the suburbs who is mad about the diversity and the formation which we have put forward," Johnson said, in comments made to the Chicago Tribune.

Boland insists, however, that his efforts are about promoting "good government," and not about political ideologies. He said he votes "straight down the middle" and affirms a belief in "democracy, direct democracy," as stated in his interview with the Chicago Tribune. Despite the steep mountain confronting him, Boland believes the recall effort has a firm shot, especially after Johnson's dip in approval ratings and the defeat of his "Bring Chicago Home" referendum, as he told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Adding to the effort's credibility, former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has provided Boland with advice on "how to do this," based on his own experience successfully leading a recall campaign for the governor's office. "I got it done. I was the one," Quinn told the Chicago Sun-Times, advocating for recall as a necessary tool for accountable governance. Boland's campaign, if successful, would mark a historic moment for Chicago, giving the city a mechanism to wield greater control over their elected officials beyond election day.