* Willie Wilson made an unusual announcement yesterday…
The African-American businessman, who was knocked out of the contest in the Feb. 24 primary, says he had private meetings over the weekend with the two candidates who will be on the April 7 ballot: incumbent Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
Wilson tells CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov he’s already decided he’ll vote for Garcia. That’s based in part, he says, on his dissatisfaction with public school closings under Emanuel’s administration and also the city’s continued use of red-light cameras.
“My personal vote is for anybody except for this mayor,” Wilson said Sunday.
Still, he said, he could end up publicly endorsing Emanuel, depending on what members of his own community tell him. Wilson insisted his personal vote is separate from who might be best for the city as a whole.
So, what weight would an endorsement carry if he’s actually voting for Garcia?
* From Sneed last week…
Sneed hears Gov. Bruce Rauner has called former mayoral candidate Willie Wilson twice to encourage him to endorse Mayor Rahm Emanuel in April’s runoff election.
Rauner and Wilson are expected to meet Saturday. Wilson supported Rauner in his gubernatorial campaign last year, and in turn Rauner appointed him to his transition committee. […]
On Thursday, Wilson announced he was retracting the promise he made on the eve of Election Day that he would endorse Garcia in the event of a runoff.
Wilson said he will consult with his supporters to determine whom he will endorse.
Gov. Bruce Rauner met Saturday with former mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, but the manager of Wilson’s campaign said Rauner did not seek an endorsement for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The Rev. Gregory Livingston, Wilson’s campaign manager, also denied a previous report that Rauner called Wilson twice to encourage him to endorse Emanuel in April’s runoff election. […]
Rauner confirmed Sunday that he met with Wilson. But he declined to say what they talked about, and he chuckled when asked about the Emanuel endorsement. […]
Livingston denied that Rauner had called Wilson seeking the endorsement. He said Wilson met with Rauner to discuss budget cuts proposed by the governor that would hurt social service groups.
* And check this out…
The ongoing tug-of-war over landing businessman Willie Wilson’s endorsement in the mayoral race took a different turn on Saturday when Wilson met with powerful union leader Tom Balanoff.
Wilson and Balanoff, president of SEIU Local 1 and the state council, had a “productive and friendly meeting,” said Jerry Morrison, a top political operative in the group. Morrison said Wilson reached out to SEIU about having a sit-down meeting. A Wilson representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
SEIU local 1 is likely to make an endorsement in the race in upcoming days, reversing its pledge before the Feb. 24 election to remain neutral. SEIU health care has already been part of a coalition that has backed Garcia.
I’m told Wilson was invited to speak to the union’s executive board this week.
* Along this same front, the mayor’s campaign is pushing hard against Garcia over the city’s presidential library bid…
STATEMENT ON CHUY GARCIA CONTINUING TO JEOPARDIZE COMMUNITY EFFORTS TO BRING THE BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY TO CHICAGO
Attributable to Steve Mayberry, Emanuel Campaign Spokesman
Thirty-six hours ago, Chuy Garcia repeated his opposition to landing the Barack Obama Presidential Library on the South Side. Today’s statement from Garcia doubles down on his opposition to using park land - continuing to jeopardize community leaders’ efforts to bring the library home.
It’s time for Chuy to take a clear stance:
Does he fully support the existing South Side locations for Barack Obama’s legacy library?
Will he actively defend the lawsuit that is likely to come from preservationists who do not represent the South Side?
If he does now support the South Side locations, what is the rationale for the flip flop in the last 36 hours when he told the Chicago Sun Times that “Just because some interests with important connections want it there doesn’t mean it has to go there”?
Emanuel angrily slammed [Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget] plan, saying, “Do not think you’re gonna do this — not only on the backs of families and children, but on the resources that . . . pay for our police and firefighters and first responders.”
Garcia said he didn’t believe Emanuel and wanted to make sure the public knew the mayor and the governor had a high-flying backstory.
“He and Rauner are good friends,” Garcia said after Emanuel’s comments on the budget. “They apparently share expensive wines together. They talk on a very regular basis. I’m sure the mayor had advanced notice that these cuts were coming down. The mayor should have ensured that the governor wouldn’t have the audacity to even think about draconian cuts.”
Voters’ biggest beef with Emanuel was over closing 50 schools and for his reputation for making decisions unilaterally. So now isn’t the time to be seen hanging out with the governor, whose budget proposes cuts to the CTA and other city entities.
A Chicago polling firm is calling the city’s runoff campaign between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia a “dead heat.”
New numbers from Ogden & Fry show Garcia, a member of the Cook County board of commissioners, within reach of the one-term Emanuel. And the firm warned that the Hispanic population under-polls, meaning that population is underrepresented in the data.
“They’re likely dead even,” pollster Tom Swiss said Sunday night.
Ogden & Fry conducted two one-question polls for The Illinois Observer on Wednesday and Saturday. Emanuel had 42.7 percent support in the earlier poll of 1,058 likely voters one day after voters denied Emanuel a second term outright. Garcia had 38.7 percent support in that poll. The margin of error was +/- 3.07 percent.
In the Saturday poll of 979 likely voters, Emanuel had 42.9 percent support to Garcia’s 38.5 percent. The margin of error was +/- 3.2 percent.
Both polls show 18.6 percent of respondents were undecided.
Crosstabs are here.