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Worst. Campaign. Ever.

Wednesday, Mar 20, 2019

* The Tribune reports that Toni Preckwinkle has pulled all her TV ads off the air

Preckwinkle, who is the Cook County Democratic Party chair, has reported raising nearly $1.6 million to rival Lori Lightfoot’s $1.9 million since the first-round election, records show. Those sums include fundraising in the past week, during which Preckwinkle has reported raising nearly $360,000 to Lightfoot’s $1.1 million.

“We’re making strategic decisions to put us in the best place to win this campaign,” Preckwinkle said Tuesday during an endorsement event with U.S. Rep. Danny Davis when asked to explain why her campaign has gone off the air.

Asked whether her campaign had run out of money, Preckwinkle said: “We’re making strategic decisions to put us in the best place to win this campaign. Thank you.”

Preckwinkle spokesman Chris Meagher acknowledged her campaign is “not currently on the air” but “should be back up soon.” Meagher did not have specifics as to when.

You almost never see this, unless a campaign is imploding. I mean, you go dark two weeks out? Just about every outlet in town picked up on this story

The Sun-Times first reported on Monday that the Preckwinkle campaign will be “totally dark” for the crucial home stretch of the historic race.

To some, abandoning the airwaves so late in a campaign is akin to throwing in the towel. Either that or a campaign is out of money.

On Tuesday, Preckwinkle refused to pinpoint her reasons for yanking her commercials just as her opponent Lori Lightfoot purchased $300,000 in TV time through Thursday alone to air a closing ad featuring her 11-year-old daughter.

The story above is about broadcast, but Comcast has not reported any Preckwinkle cable TV buys since March 5th, when her campaign purchased $42K in ads. Lightfoot has been regularly buying cable ads. Preckwinkle still has a smallish presence on Facebook, however.

* ABC 7

Meanwhile, her opponent, Lori Lightfoot, launched her closing ad — a lighthearted one featuring her 13-year-old daughter waving and dancing and being goofy in the background.

Lightfoot said it was actually her daughter’s suggestion because she was disappointed she wasn’t in any earlier ads. “I’m Lori Lightfoot and I’m running for mayor for our daughter’s future and all Chicago’s children,” she says in the commercial.

“Look, I just think we wanted to have a little bit of a light touch in these closing days, there’s been a lot of rancor that happened since President Preckwinkle gave her election night speech,” Preckwinkle said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 9:37 am:

    Mayor Lightfoot.

  2. - Montrose - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 9:38 am:

    I think we should shift to prepping to work with the Lightfoot Administration.

  3. - Leslie K - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 9:43 am:

    Rancor, anger and entitlement isn’t working for Preckwinkle? There apparently is a bright spot in politics. Kudos to Lightfoot for rising above the nastiness.

  4. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 9:47 am:

    Absolutely shocking FUBAR. Like a cry for help.

    Coming up: Massive finger-pointing leaks to the media, as Preckwinkle operatives distance themselves from the campaign in attempts to salvage their reputations.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 9:48 am:

    This is one of those where they prepared for Daley or Mendoza, and Lightfoot emerging… they had no answers, and the implosion to being unable to move forward stalled everything.

    The reality was… Lightfoot’s campaign is based on Preckwinkle tactics. The baked in way Lightfoot had Preckwinkle’s number…

    It’s like in boxing… you train for a righty… you get a Southpaw.

  6. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 9:51 am:

    Jerry Morrison and Ray Sharkey can read polls.

    Why spend millions on a losing campaign attacking the next mayor of Chicago, whom you have to work with?

    SEIU and CTU have 15 contested aldermanic races to worry about, and they are free to work with other labor unions that support Lightfoot now without any issues over the top of the ticket.

  7. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 9:51 am:

    Assuming Lightfoot wins, she seems liberal enough for many Chicagoans, stating support for a progressive state income tax, marijuana legalization, constitutional protection of pensions, etc. I’m not emotionally invested in this race as I’d have been if Daley or Wilson was the other candidate.

  8. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 9:53 am:

    Turns out that Toni isn’t so arrogant when she’s not running against Todd Stroger or Bob Fioretti. This was her last term in any event, glad she’s going to stay on the side of the 5th floor that she’s already on.

  9. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 9:54 am:

    Interesting “strategic” move. Perhaps gleaned from GovJunk quittin’ the race gambit. Perhaps Toni thinks this will stall Lori’s ground pounders and her machine forces will drag out voters.

  10. - Smalls - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 9:59 am:

    Makes you wonder if something bigger is coming, maybe related to Burke. It is hard to believe that she could be that inept.

  11. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:00 am:

    If she has given up why not just withdraw?

  12. - Responsa - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:01 am:

    This run-off campaign has been entertaining beyond my wildest dreams. If Lori wins I really do wonder how these two are going to be able to work together in such close proximity toward important civic goals for the region. A wounded Toni will be interesting to watch.

  13. - Roadrager - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:02 am:

    It’ll be interesting to see how some of her more prominent water-carriers behave between now and election day.

  14. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:02 am:

    The other side: Does she have a massive oppo dump on Lightfoot and is getting ready for those ads?

    Doubtful though…she is just running a terrible campaign.

  15. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:03 am:

    I thought Preckwinkle was much closer than the polls. She has a network of people, and many of them endorsed her. Plus the unions, I think she always had a shot. I feel bad for the lower level politicians that stuck their necks out for Preckwinkle only to see Chuy and a bunch of other people abandon ship.

    I have no problems with Lightfoot, but I do think she is vague on a lot of the major issues facing Chicago, and I don’t know exactly what she is going to do if (when?) she has to start governing.

  16. - 47th Ward GOP - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:03 am:

    Will Scott Cisek be blamed for this decision?

  17. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:04 am:

    I wonder if she’s “out of money” or saving it - she had quite a lot IIRC, maybe she’s reading the writing on the wall.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:06 am:

    With early voting underway… election day is already here.

    The voting and election is happening right now. If you’re already behind, people are voting… it’s like slowly drowning.

    They can’t stop it.

  19. - Because I said so.... - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:08 am:

    =Will Scott Cisek be blamed for this decision?=

    There have been a few men associated with the Preckwinkle campaign that have hurt her badly.

  20. - Robert Lincoln - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:09 am:

    Exactly. If she truly will not run again for County Board, this is her last election. How much is Rahm leaving office with?

  21. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:10 am:

    –I wonder if she’s “out of money” or saving it —

    Saving it for what? Bulls and Hawks playoff tickets?

  22. - Regular democrat - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:12 am:

    One of preckwinkles most ardent supporters is Rob Martwick. It can be argued that his childish outburst against lLightfoot sparked her on to victory

  23. - Anon - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:17 am:

    Nothing brings me greater joy in politics than seeing someone unexpectedly denied a job they thought themselves entitled to right as it was seemingly finally in their grasp.

  24. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:26 am:

    I can’t think of any move Preckwinkle has made since the February results that has been right. I thought Lightfoot would win but thought it would be closer to 10 points than that one poll that had 28. Now I’m not so sure.

  25. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:26 am:

    Is she calling up people and asking them to run in her place? /s

  26. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:32 am:

    I thought the Preckwinkle attack ads cost her votes. Better no ads than ads that cost you votes.

    Silence could lower the Lightfoot turnout. Some might think the race is already over.

  27. - Paddyrollingstone - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:41 am:

    Although Lightfoot was helped enormously by the Burke explosion, she has run a fantastic campaign. Just brilliant.

    As for Toni, it couldn’t happen to anyone nicer.

  28. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    A non-concede-concede.

  29. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    it ain’t over ’till it’s over.

  30. - Sue - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    Maybe all of the CTU and SEIU members should sue for dues refunds. The Unions even got their NY affiliates to flush their money into the Preckwinkle toilet

  31. - CT Resident - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    New strategic plan: playing possum

  32. - Annon3 - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:54 am:

    The Lightfoot ads with her daughter are really fun. With Preckwinkle dark she has an opportunity to make her closing early.
    Also tough year for candidates with a long history people seem especially tired of Chicago’s entrenched polls

  33. - A guy - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:05 am:

    This one definitely is a head scratcher…Almost as if the concession has already been offered and accepted…

  34. - NoGifts - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:07 am:

    I don’t vote in the city and don’t have a preference. Anyway I saw Lightfoot’s “daughter” advertisement this morning and I LOVED IT. :)

  35. - don the legend - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:14 am:

    “Look, I just think we wanted to have a little bit of a light touch in these closing days, there’s been a lot of rancor that happened since President Preckwinkle gave her election night speech,” Preckwinkle said.

    Preckwinkle gets credited with Lightfoot quotes, that’s how bad it’s gotten.

  36. - City Guy - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:19 am:

    I think Lightfoot’s “daughter” advertisement is one of the better ads I have seen in recent years. It isn’t over slick with a lot of fast editing. While addressing hard issues, it remains positive and not too serious. It shows a side of Lori that I hadn’t really seen before that makes her more likable and relatable.

  37. - Chicago Plus - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:23 am:

    Toni has effectively conceded. I suspect she will lose by 12-15% - if the election was a week ago, it would be even worse.

    I honestly believe Lori would not have been in the runoff but for the Cisek/Martwick idiocy.

    I also think Toni would have had trouble beating any of the candidates - including Daley. People have really, really had enough of her.

  38. - City Zen - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:40 am:

    Dateline, March 18: IFT endorses Toni Preckwinkle for Mayor of Chicago

    Bravo, Dan. Bra-vo.

  39. - Jocko - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:43 am:

    If I didn’t know any better, I would swear Rams coach Sean McVay took over her campaign in March.

  40. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:58 am:

    CTU went all in on preckwinkle and got burned. Oops.

  41. - MG85 - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 12:01 pm:

    Campaigns don’t stop because they are losing. They stop because they are out of money.

    Maggie Koerthe-Baker wrote a great article about money in elections here:

    It’s usually the case that, as noted above, winning attracts money not money gains winning.

  42. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 12:14 pm:

    It’s like in boxing… you train for a righty… you get a Southpaw. - O.W.

    Not if your manager/corner are earning their dough.

  43. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 12:21 pm:

    ===Not if your manager/corner are earning their dough.===

    You can’t change who you are.

    Preckwinkle facing Lightfoot, Preckwinkle was/has been framed as the status quo in a way that facing Mendoza or Daley or Chico couldn’t run against.

    Preckwinkle’s Crew made choices, Preckwinkle made choices that, like a boxer facing an opponent they didn’t train for, caused more damage than the usual stubbed toe.

    It can’t be dismissed that Lightfoot as the opponent… seemingly changed all the possible normal avenues to victory, and once that seemed hopeless, the clock was against Preckwinkle too.

  44. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    Preckwinkle’s Crew made choices, Preckwinkle made choices that, like a boxer facing an opponent they didn’t train for, caused more damage than the usual stubbed toe.

    I don’t disagree…boxers and politicians make choices… informed by professional managers.

  45. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 12:39 pm:

    @Word - saving it for a war chest for future campaigns or contribute to allies’ campaigns - at least I thought that could be done: does the money have to be spent on this race?

  46. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 12:39 pm:

    ===I don’t disagree…===

    Then what’s your point?

    Blame her handlers?

    Then do it, don’t drag me into it. Ugh.

    I can see why you won’t use a name this time.

    Preckwinkle is like the 5-Seed that gets that 12-Seed draw in the NCAA tournament. The matchup does not reflect the seeding. The 12-Seed has a better chance, a different matchup might see things differently.

  47. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 1:23 pm:

    I don’t dislike Toni, but I think she underestimated how very sick most of us are of the same old candidates.

  48. - Sue - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    Preckwinkle stood with Berrios and as Chair of the Party the rest of a corrupt machine. She should just concede and build some good will with Lori

  49. - telling - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:02 pm:

    her union support seiu/ctu/teams scares me as a taxpayer.

  50. - Father Ted - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:02 pm:

    A post of mine from earlier today either did not post properly or was deleted. If it’s the latter and due to what I’d written, I apologize.

  51. - bored now - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:19 pm:

    the obvious reason is that she is prepared to lose. her next move, then, would be for re-election as board president. and she will need money for that. i’d imagine that her hold on the cook county dem party just got loosened, as well…

  52. - Hammer - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:40 pm:

    bored now she was just re-elected. I’d say it’s more about not throwing good energy after bad. If the polls continue how they look she’s gonna lose. You don’t also want to drag down foxx, peters and co by making it harder to function in the city.

  53. - crazybleedingheart - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:55 pm:

    Preckwinkle had a bad campaign but would be a great mayor.

    Lightfoot had a great campaign but would be a bad mayor.

  54. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 3:14 pm:

    telling, I think a lot of voters are put off by Prekwinkles main financial backing being ctu and seiu

  55. - NorthsideNoMore - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 3:17 pm:

    Heads will roll in TPs camp. Soda tax and other stinky laundry may be here undoing.

  56. - Shytown - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 3:24 pm:

    Team Toni has been a series of unforced errors coupled with crap advisors, but it all starts at the top. The finger should be pointed squarely at her.

  57. - Shytown - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    == Lightfoot had a great campaign but would be a bad mayor. ==

    Wouldn’t call it a great campaign actually. More like right message/right place/right time.

  58. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 3:37 pm:

    Lightfoot will be fine. She’s clearly not a raving left winger and doesn’t appear to have Toni’s taxing tendency.

  59. - Sue - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 4:37 pm:

    Here is hoping that Lori refuses to even allow Tom Balanoff and CTU officials onto the 5th floor

  60. - Well - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 5:00 pm:

    Toni did get the Stroger endorsement today so there is still plenty of life left in this campaign.

  61. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 5:38 pm:

    == only to see Chuy and a bunch of other people abandon ship ==
    You have to be on the ship to abandon ship. Chuy has been on different ship since 2015. Toni’s ship is sunk.

  62. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 6:25 pm:

    Todd Stroger, hahahhahahhaha

  63. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 6:27 pm:

    All the CTU backed by the DSA are for Prekwinkle. A good reason to vote for Lightfoot and a likely reason for her victory.

  64. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 6:46 pm:

    I thought Chuy was Preckwinkle’s floor leader among the County Commissioners.

  65. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 8:14 pm:

    Chuy, Wilson, and Joyce are an interesting coalition. I would love to see the internal polls in both the Lightfoot and Preckwinkle campaigns. That first public poll after the two made the runoff sure seems to have set the tone for everything that has happened since it was released.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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