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Willie Wilson to back Lightfoot

Friday, Mar 8, 2019

* Big

In what might prove to be a crucial decision in the race for mayor, Willie Wilson is endorsing Lori Lightfoot over Toni Preckwinkle.

Lighfoot confirmed the endorsement Friday morning at the City Club of Chicago. Wilson has scheduled a formal announcement for Friday afternoon at Chicago Baptist Institute International in the Washington Park neighborhood.

“I’m happy to have his endorsement; because I think, fundamentally, where he and I agree is the absolute urgent necessity to invest in our neighborhoods to change people’s lives, and to give them opportunity and hope. That shared value is where we have connected,” Lightfoot said.

Wilson came in fourth in total votes in the first round of the mayor’s race last month, but won the most wards of any candidate, taking 14 wards, amassing more than 50,000 votes in largely African American neighborhoods on the South and West sides. Lightfoot won 11 wards, mostly along the North Side and north Lakefront.

* Retort

Preckwinkle accused Wilson of making his endorsement “contingent upon him receiving guaranteed clout appointments for various city commissions and departments.” She also accused him of demanding that Preckwinkle help retire the debt that remains from his self-funded mayoral campaign.

Those are promises that, Preckwinkle said, she was unwilling to make while her opponent was.

“Yet again, it seems Lightfoot is succumbing to a textbook example of pay-to-play politics, rather than looking out for Chicago’s best interests,” the Preckwinkle campaign said in a statement.

Preckwinkle’s deputy campaign manager Jason Lee was quoted as saying: “If Mr. Wilson’s endorsement can be bought, that is certainly not an endorsement that reflects the values of integrity of Toni’s campaign. And frankly, not one our campaign is interested in.”

Kinda difficult to make that stick on someone generally regarded as a reformer…



* Speaking of endorsements

Lightfoot was endorsed by the firefighters’ union. Standing with her for that were Northwest Side aldermen Nick Sposato and Anthony Napolitano, whom Preckwinkle described as “pro-Trump Republicans and anti-immigrant alderman.” That prompted Lightfoot to accuse Preckwinkle of lying. “There’s no lie you will not tell. It is sad and pathetic.” In an interview with POLITICO, Sposato said he was surprised by Preckwinkle’s inflammatory language since she had called him last week asking for his endorsement. He and Napolitano are former firefighters who chose to stand by whomever their union endorsed. “I stick with the girl who brought me to the dance. And that was Local 2,” he said.

More

“I’ve seen a lot of craven things happen in politics but, man, you are shameful,” Lightfoot said, before explaining that the two aldermen showed up when she was endorsed by the firefighters union. She noted she’s been “highly critical” of those aldermen.

* Speaking of Trump and back to the Wilson nod

The Preckwinkle campaign pointed to an old tweet in which Lightfoot hit Wilson as a “proud Trump and Rauner-supporting Republican who supports horrible policies that will end up costing regular Chicagoans much much more in the long run.”

Lightfoot brushed off her earlier criticism, saying she had gotten to know Wilson during the campaign. “He’s shared lots of different issues with me, his rationale on a number of different things, and I’m happy to have his endorsement, because I think fundamentally where he and I agree is the absolute, urgent necessity to invest in our neighborhoods to change people’s lives and to give them opportunity and hope,” she said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

50 Comments »
  1. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:02 pm:

    Boss Toni flailing away, negative campaigning. It’s kinda funny, actually.


  2. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:03 pm:

    Someone should tell Toni that constant angry slinging of mud is not a good look. Especially when you are decrying namecalling. And she was caught lying about when she knew about the sexual harassment charge against her chief of staff.


  3. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:06 pm:

    The endorsements certainly help Lightfoot, but I suspect both Wilson and the firefighters are jumping on the bandwagon of the candidate they already view as the likely winner.

    Don’t back no losers…….


  4. - Chicago_Downstater - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:12 pm:

    That Wilson endorsement has to hurt Preckwinkle.

    Lightfoot has my vote, but I do feel kinda bad for Preckwinkle. She truly did start off as a reformer, and she’s done a lot of great work. It’s just somewhere down the line she bought into the notion that you gotta play ball to win the game. It was likely the right move at the time, but opinion has shifted quite a bit since then.

    There’s still plenty of time in this race–and I truly hope Lightfoot wins–but this week must feel like a slow motion train wreck for Preckwinkle. I can’t help but wonder if there are any regrets.

    I also wonder what happens to her political career if she loses. Folks with more insight and experience, do you have any thoughts?


  5. - Montrose - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:13 pm:

    Is the BGA a c4? If not, Shaw needs to re-read the rules on c3’s and electioneering. There’s a bit of irony there.


  6. - AiH - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:13 pm:

    Will Wilson be handing out cash or just checks at the endorsement?


  7. - Mich Ave - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:20 pm:

    ==I also wonder what happens to her political career if she loses.==

    She finishes her term as County Board President and does not run for that office again. Her power as head of the County Party will be substantially weakened which will make the institution itself far less important.


  8. - 47th Ward - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:21 pm:

    Well this puts a major dent in the “Lightfoot’s base is all Northside” talking point.

    Since the primary ended, the race was about who could broaden their appeal the most. Getting the firefighters and Wilson are huge for Lightfoot. If she gets Chuy next week this could be over.


  9. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:21 pm:

    Wasn’t Bruce Rauner on the BGA Board?


  10. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    Wilson’s endorsement helps… it really helps if it comes with $100 bills for people, or $500K for a late ad…

    … but it does help nonetheless.


  11. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:23 pm:

    Not a great idea to attack the extremely popular aldermen of two of the City’s highest-turnout wards


  12. - NIU Grad - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:23 pm:

    Toni is just crashing and burning here…Is anyone advising her campaign or is she just not listening to people?

    A scary thought for me is that if Lori wins, Toni is going to launch a 3 1/2 year revenge tour in her role as President and party chair. That might end up being disastrous for the city’s already precarious future.


  13. - DuPage Bard - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:23 pm:

    Trouble for Toni for sure.


  14. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:25 pm:

    The Committeeman of the 38th Ward - State Rep Rob Martwick - is a big reason Lightfoot got the late surge of momentum that put her in the runoff


  15. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:26 pm:

    C-D, she is 71 and I think when running for her third term as county board president she said this would be her last term.
    The thing that I find amusing is that she said that she was running again because she had work to finish at the County. I guess when the mayoral vacancy arose that work suddenly was no longer needed.


  16. - James the Intolerant - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:26 pm:

    At least looking at Illinois Sunshine, I am surprised money isn’t pouring into LL. She has at least a 50% chance (probably much more)of being mayor and I don’t see much, but I am not sure when it is updated.


  17. - NIU Grad - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:27 pm:

    Also: If Wilson was asking for all of these things in exchange for an endorsement, and Toni refused, why wouldn’t they just leak it then in order to lay the groundwork for this criticism? They would have also gotten some free points for sounding like a true reformer. Aren’t they basically saying “His endorsement is shady, but we were willing to accept that if he ended up endorsing me.”


  18. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:27 pm:

    I rather have Secretary White’s endorsement than Willie Wilson’s.


  19. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    @montrose

    Shaw stepped down from running the BGA last year.


  20. - Pundent - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:30 pm:

    =I rather have Secretary White’s endorsement than Willie Wilson’s.=

    In a state-wide race I’d agree with you. But the objective here is to consolidate the votes of the other candidates. That’s the ballgame in the run-off.


  21. - Responsa - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:37 pm:

    Did anybody besides me watch the debate last night? There were some bright spots but also moments of excruciating cat fighting that didn’t make either of them look good IMO. Neither had very good answers about the homeless population or sanctuary city/ICE issue. When asked to say something they admired about the other Toni’s reply was that she admired Lori’s bravery about being open and honest about being gay. Maybe she was sincere but I thought Toni was sneakily trying to “educate” voters on Lori’s sexual identity in case that might matter to any of them.


  22. - Chicago_Downstater - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    @Anonymous at 12:26 pm

    Thank you for that info. I didn’t remember her saying that. That really answers my question.

    To all the folks downplaying Wilson’s endorsement I suggest checking out some of the ward maps from the general election. He took significant sections of the South and West Side vote in a low-turnout environment (that suggests that his voters were more motivated than the majority who stayed at home).

    You don’t have to like the man to get that Wilson’s endorsement is likely very important to the outcome of this race. But as I said, we still got quite a while to go. Who knows what will happen.

    link to ward map: https://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/chicago-mayor-election-ward-vote-506452691.html


  23. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:39 pm:

    ===moments of excruciating cat fighting===

    Is that how you described the awful back and forth during the Pritzker vs. Rauner debates?

    It’s 2019, dude.


  24. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:42 pm:

    –I also wonder what happens to her political career if she loses.–

    Preckwinkle just began a new four-year-term as Cook County Board prez.


  25. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    Brutal. I think Preckwinkle should try to keep some of her attacks more muted. She will still be Cook County President. It’s an important job with a heck of a lot of power. She is far from out of the game and should keep at least some of her chips.


  26. - Responsa - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:46 pm:

    ==Is that how you described the awful back and forth during the Pritzker vs. Rauner debates?==

    To me it seemed different than the Rauner/Pritzker go at it. The moderator Carol Marin was not amused and showed frustration several times. At one point she called a 60 second camera break for no apparent reason other than perhaps to cool things down. YMMV.


  27. - lakeside - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:46 pm:

    @Responsa - I thought the exact same thing. It got a big frown at my house.


  28. - lakeside - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:47 pm:

    @Responsa - about Preckwinkle’s ‘compliment.’


  29. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:51 pm:

    Perhaps Lori should have complimented Toni for openly divorcing a few years ago Let the conservative churchgoers mull that tidbit as well.


  30. - Roman - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:51 pm:

    == I suspect both Wilson and the firefighters are jumping on the bandwagon ==

    Yep. Wilson’s endorsement is probably overrated, but no matter how you slice it, this has been an absolutely abysmal week for Toni.

    And the movement away from her is reflected in the latest contributions. Her A-1 filings have slowed to a trickle since Feb 26. Not gonna be able to drag Lori down with paid media unless her union pals really double down financially.


  31. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:53 pm:

    I liked it better when Toni was all indignant about not trashing people who didn’t endorse a particular candidate. You know, yesterday.


  32. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 12:59 pm:

    == In a state-wide race I’d agree with you. ==

    Wilson got 10% of the vote in 2015. He keeps spending his money but going nowhere. Do you think his 50,000 voters are going to vote for Lightfoot because he said so?

    I trust Secretary White’s ability to influence voters more than Willie Wilson’s ability to turn out “his people” for Lightfoot.


  33. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 1:01 pm:

    I’m no fan of Willy Wilson. But when a runoff campaign takes the stance, “Yeah that guy that got 58,000 votes, we don’t want his support,” it is going to lose… and lose horribly.


  34. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 1:05 pm:

    ===I trust Secretary White’s ability to influence voters more than Willie Wilson’s===

    Yeah, well, that’s just your opinion, man.


  35. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 1:07 pm:

    ===You know, yesterday===

    You should get a Twitter account. lol


  36. - TopHatMonocle - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 1:08 pm:

    I seriously doubt Wilson’s endorsement is enough to push all his voters to Lightfoot when Preckwinkle was the clear second choice in the wards he won. But maybe it pushes some, and either way this a good media story for Lightfoot which continues her momentum.

    As far as political future goes, Preckwinkle still has her entire term left as County Board President. It’s more interesting to think of the future of her close allies, such as Kim Foxx who is up for re-election next year. Is Preckwinkle damaged so badly at this point that it hurts her prospects?


  37. - West Side the Best Side - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 1:13 pm:

    Wonder if the Wilson-Vallas bromance will lead to a Vallas endorsement for Lightfoot?


  38. - a drop in - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    It seems to me Toni Preckwinkle’s path is mimicking Jane Byrne’s path 1983-1987. Once viewed as a reformer, now viewed as part of the machine.


  39. - SaulGoodman - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    **Is Preckwinkle damaged so badly at this point that it hurts her prospects?**

    No.


  40. - a drop in - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    Oops, meant 1979-1983.


  41. - City Zen - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 1:15 pm:

    Toni is hoping Todd Stroger will come out of hibernation to endorse Lightfoot.


  42. - Chicago_Downstater - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 1:15 pm:

    @wordslinger

    Thank you. I did know that as I think most folks do.

    I guess I was speaking more toward her position as the the Chairwoman of the Cook County Democratic Party. Does she continue in that role or are there calls for new leadership–especially with the City Hall investigations, Berrios, and various “scandals.”

    But that is on me. I did not make my question clear.


  43. - Regular democrat - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 1:28 pm:

    Willie wilson is a “millionaire businessman”. Why would he be asking preckwinkle to help with campaign debt. He self funded with his own cash so what gives?


  44. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 1:35 pm:

    I remember Vallas saying that if he did not make the runoff he could only endorse someone who got in the race before Rahm dropped out, so I’d imagine that means he’ll endorse Lightfoot if he does endorse.

    Also, based on the fact that Preckwinkle’s campaign put Mendoza through an acrimonious petition challenge, my guess is Mendoza would also endorse Lightfoot if she endorses.


  45. - Amazing How Much Can Change in 3 Short Weeks - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    Exhibit A: https://twitter.com/LightfootForChi/status/1096456560254029824

    Exhibit B: https://twitter.com/LightfootForChi/status/1104103940507996160


  46. - Anon324 - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 2:21 pm:

    I always find comments from people who don’t read posts to the end to be enlightening.


  47. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 2:27 pm:

    - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 1:05 pm:

    ===I trust Secretary White’s ability to influence voters more than Willie Wilson’s===

    Yeah, well, that’s just your opinion, man.

    Never gets old!


  48. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 3:23 pm:

    ==Is that how you described the awful back and forth during the Pritzker vs. Rauner debates?==

    To me it seemed different than the Rauner/Pritzker go at it.–

    Is it really possible that you’re missing the point?


  49. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 3:23 pm:

    I suspect the Preckwinkle campaign’s internal polls don’t look too good. What specific points can she get traction on to change the narrative between now and April 2?


  50. - Shytown - Friday, Mar 8, 19 @ 3:44 pm:

    Team Toni, burning every bridge that exists. There won’t be any bridges left for her to cross and get back the political power she one had.


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