Category Archives: Derrick Blakley

Anti-Gay Flyers Make Their Way Into Mayor’s Race

CHICAGO (CBS) — There are plenty of political flyers in the race for the next mayor of Chicago.

But now hateful leaflets have turned up in unlikely places.

CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley reports on the troubling discovery.

As Lori Lightfoot enjoyed another round of labor endorsments, she was also dealing with anti-gay flyers that showed up on the windshield of worshippers outside black churches.

“Any attempts by anyone to propagate hate, we have to stand together as a city and denounce it unequivocally,” Lightfoot said. “Because hate can have no place in this city,” Lightfoot said.

The fear-mongering flyer claimed if that Lightfoot is elected: “All contracts, jobs and employment would be assigned exclusively to gay people.”

Some flyers were found outside the House of Hope megachurch, headed by the Rev. James Meeks.

“Unfortunately, I think it was broader than Rev. Meeks’ church from the reports that we’ve heard,” Lightfoot said.

Indeed, reports said the flyers appeared outside Apostolic Faith Church as well. If victorious, Lightfoot is set to make history not only as Chicago’s first black female mayor, but Chicago’s first openly gay mayor as well.

Lightfoot’s campaign hoped Willie Wilson’s endorsement might help win over conservative black churchgoers, the very group that which the flyers are apparently aimed.

Lightfoot’s opponent, Toni Preckwinkle, critized the flyers as well.

“Sure, I condemn then. They have nothing to do with our campaign. They’re disgraceful,” Preckwinkle said.

Lightfoot called the flyers an unfortunate distraction.

“I feel very confident if we keep working hard and stay focused and not let these things derail us, we’re going to have a broad mandate for change in this city. That’s what I’m focused on,” Lightfoot said.

Those flyers are now attracting national attention as well.

Annise Parker, the former Mayor of Houston, who is also openly gay, said the attack flyers are infused with bigoted stereotypes too often used against gay candidates.

You can see the bios for both candidates, along with their positions on the key issues, on our website CBSChicago.com/voterguide.

 

Mayoral Candidates Outline Their Solutions For Chicago’s Problems

CHICAGO (CBS) —  In the Chicago mayoral race, Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot each outlined how they would attack Chicago’s crime problem in a forum at the University of Chicago.

CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley was there.

Lori Lightfoot, the former federal prosecutor, backed a crackdown on repeat gun offenders to help reduce street crime.

“Somebody who decides to, again, pick up a firearm and and cause harm is a danger to the community, pure and simple,” Lightfoot said. “You should not be back out on the street.”

Lightfoot said the feds need to step up prosecution of Chicago gun cases. And she said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s two-person public safety staff must be radically expanded.

“If you compare that to New York, that has about 50 people in its mayor’s office of public safety, or 30 in L.A. it’s hard to say that we are really serious about public safety in this city,” Lightfoot said.

Meantime, Toni Preckwinkle said racism is the reason violence is worse in Chicago than other big cities.

“Neither New York or Los Angeles has the profound segregation that we have here in Chicago. I think that’s part of the reason they have less violence and further more, the poorest communities in Chicago are poorer, relatively speaking, than the poorest communities in New York and Los Angeles,” Preckwinkle said.

Both candidates said poor communities need more investment, jobs and mental health facilities. And both agreed police need better training, but they disagreed on the new police training academy approved Wednesday by City Council.

Lightfoot said the city may be spending too little.

“It’s not going to be $98 million. If you’re really going to do it right, it’s going to be far more than that,” she said.

While Preckwinkle is wary of both the price tag and the location.

“I just question whether or not we need to spend $95 million dollars on a brand new facility, whether there’s an opportunity to reuse a facility elsewhere,” Preckwinkle added.

The forum was organized by the University of Chicago which wanted the two mayoral candidates to appear together. But Toni Preckwinkle declined to share the stage with Lori Lightfoot.

With just 20 days left until the election, vote-by-mail ballots go out Thursday to 21,000 voters who requested them. Election officials said they should be mailed back by March 20.

Early voting begins this weekend at the Super Loop site, and then citywide next Monday.

You can watch Derrick Blakley’s one-on-one interviews with both candidates on our website, CBSChicago.com/voterguide.

A Compliment Being Questioned As Criticism In Mayoral Race

CHICAGO (CBS) —The race for Chicago’s next mayor has turned so personal, what seemed to be a compliment is now being questioned as criticism.

As CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley reports, it all revolves around Lori Lightfoot’s sexual identity.

When Illinois State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) endorsed Lori Lightfoot for mayor of Chicago, it was an openly gay elected official endorsing an openly gay candidate. Cassidy, noting that while Toni Preckwinkle has been an ally for the gay community, it matters that Lightfoot herself is a lesbian.

“Ultimately, allies only get you so far,” Cassidy said. “And at the end of the day, representation matters.”

Meantime, Lightfoot questioned whether Preckwinkle was encouraging homophobia with this reply at Thursday’s NBC 5 debate. When asked what she admired about Lightfoot, Preckwinkle said “that she’s open and honest about her LGBTQ orientation.”

“Coming in the context of a clear strategy to be as negative against me as possible, I can only hope she wasn’t blowing some type of dog whistle,” Lightfoot said.

Meaning, a quiet reminder to conservative voters who may not realize Lightfoot is gay.

“That’s ridiculous. I’ve always been a strong supporter of the LGBTQ community. I have members of that community on my staff and my campaign and my government office,” responded Preckwinkle.

Or maybe Preckwinkle wanted to remind Willie Wilson’s conservative black voters about Lightfoot’s identity, one day before Wilson endorsed Lightfoot. Again, Preckwinkle said no.

“No, it had nothing to do with Willie Wilson, absolutely nothing,” Preckwinkle said.

Lightfoot insisted, in the end, Preckwinkle’s intent doesn’t matter.

“In the way in which she has conducted herself, literally from election night, those kinds of words are going to have an impact,” said Lightfoot.

Her endorsement by Kelly Cassidy was also a rallying cry for LGBTQ voters to flock to the polls for Lightfoot. The unknown question: How many conservative voters may be motivated to vote against Lightfoot, for the very same reason.

Lightfoot, Preckwinkle Pick Up More Endorsements

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s the battle of endorsements in the race for mayor of the city of Chicago.

And also allegations of a shakedown.

Political reporter Derrick Blakley has a look at an election turning uglier by the day.

Lori Lightfoot gladly accepted the backing of former candidate Willie Wilson, who won 14 of Chicago’s black wards, in the election’s first round.

“Our neighborhoods are starving. And we have to meet that challenge,” said Lightfoot.

With Wilson throwing this shot at the candidate he didn’t endorse, Toni Preckwinkle.

“How can you expect things to change when she is the machine,” asked Wilson.

In return, Preckwinkle showed off endorsements from a host of ministers.

“We need strong, bold, passionate, sensitive proven leadership,” said Reverend Michael Eaddy of the People’s Church of Harvest.

But Preckwinkle’s campaign charged that Wilson sought to name key commissioners and asked  Preckwinkle to pay his campaign costs in exchange for Wilson’s support.

Preckwinkle insisting she refused.

“In the 30 years that I have been in public life, we’ve never paid the campaign debts of our opponents, nor have I promised anyone that they could appoint positions as bureau chiefs or department heads and I’m not gonna start now,” Preckwinkle said.

Wilson, a multi-millionaire, denied seeking anything,  including money.

“I got several calls from people asking me to endorse her, as late as yesterday, so that don’t make sense right?”

And Lightfoot defended Wilson, accusing Preckwinkle of desperation.

“When you don’t get what you want, you move on, you don’t call names, disparage, and try to call names as we are seeing today.”

Preckwinkle’s team also dug up a Lightfoot tweet from three weeks ago, where she attacked Willie Wilson as a supporter of President Trump and former governor Rauner.

On Friday, Lightfoot side-stepped comment on the tweet. And Wilson admitted supporting Republicans adding that “I’m for anybody who will lower my taxes.”

Chicago’s Mayoral Candidates Get Dueling Endorsements

CHICAGO (CBS) — In the race for mayor of Chicago it’s dueling endorsements.

Toni Preckwinkle gets a boost in her quest for black voters, while Lori Lightfoot wins support from a Hispanic community group.

CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley is following the candidates.

She’s running as a progressive, but Toni Preckwinkle showed off support today from two Democratic organization stalwarts. The first one is Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

“We need someone to run the city of Chicago who has experience,” said White.

And the other came from West Side Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) who praised Preckwinkle’s accomplishments, specifically in the area of affordable housing.

“She don’t talk about it, she be about it. She be about making things happen,” Burnett said.

And to pull out a victory, Preckwinkle’s got to have dominating support among black voters, especially after Lori Lightfoot won the backing of a Hispanic group, formed by Illinois U.S. Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and his predecessor, Luis Gutierrez.

“More than anything else, Lori had a history of coalition building. I think if we can help in spreading her message in the Latino community, we’re going to be happy to do so,” said Juan Morado Jr. of the Latino Leadership Council.

Preckwinkle may be fighting an uphill climb with Latinos. The man who ran Garcia’s 2015 mayoral campaign, Manny Perez, is now Lightfoot’s campaign manager. When Garcia was elected to the Cook County Board, Preckwinkle chose him as her floor leader.

But in his 2015 challenge against Rahm Emanuel, Preckwinkle did not endorse Garcia.

And so far this year, Garcia has returned the favor. When asked if Garcia was planning to back her, Preckwinkle said “as I understand it, he hasn’t made a decision yet.”

The next big endorsement on the horizion is expected to come from Willie Wilson, who won the mayoral vote in some 14 black wards.

He said he will announce whether he is backing Preckwinkle or Lightfoot on Friday.

The Money Machine In The Chicago Mayoral Race

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s no surprise that money is powering Chicago’s mayoral runoff.

But money from where? CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley is taking a close look at who’s giving Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot their campaign cash.

Long before the mayoral race, Toni Preckwinkle has been a vocal backer of the Service Employees International Union, the SEIU.

“We can’t say because you clean an office building, you don’t deserve a living wage,” said candidate Toni Preckwinkle back in 2015.

Now, in the mayoral race, a spokesperson for Preckwinkle said:

“Unlike lawyer Lori Lightfoot, who has given her campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars, Toni is relying on grassroots support from all over Chicago.”

We’d say, that’s partially false.

Lightfoot has been her own biggest contributor, donating $266,000 to her campaign. But various factions of the SEIU have poured in more than 3.2 million dollars for Preckwinkle.

That’s roughly 42 percent of her overall fundraising. Hardly a reliance on grassroots money. So, how have things changed since both candidates reached the runoff?

Lightfoot reported an influx of $387,000, some of it from big money donors:  Lawyer Leslie Bluhm, $100,000. Ad man Dale Taylor and retiree Peter Phillips, $50,000 each. But also: $105,000 from individuals, mostly amounts of $1,000 to $5,000.

And $71,000 from attorneys, mostly $1,000 to $5,000 amounts.

The people who’ve supported me are people that, frankly, are my friends who’ve known me since I was a baby lawyer and the kind of work and the integrity that I bring to the job of being a lawyer. So it’s a natural thing for people who know you, and like you, to be supportive,” said Lightfoot.

And Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) also contributed $10,000 to Lightfoot. Meantime, since reaching the runoff, Preckwinkle has reported a modest $6,500 in contributions, including $2,000 from her political director, $1,500 from a PAC and $3,000 from three individual donors.

Overall, Preckwinkle has outraised Lightfoot by almost three-to-one. And while Lightfoot’s surge has already brought in an influx of cash, the big corporate and business money is still on the sidelines, at least for now.

Lightfoot: ‘I Have The Right Experience To Lift This City Up And Forward’

CHICAGO (CBS) — Four weeks from Tuesday, Chicago voters go to the polls to select between two black women as the next mayor.

A new, independent poll shows Lori Lightfoot with a commanding early lead. CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley sat down with Lightfoot as the race gets revved up.

“What I’m focused on is winning votes, winning people’s confidence. That I have the right vision, the right experience to lift this city up and forward,” Lightfoot said.

The woman who seemingly came from nowhere to win the crowded mayoral first round, is heading toward the runoff with momentum. A new, independent poll for a children’s advocacy group shows Lightfoot at 58 percent, Toni Preckwinkle at 30 percent with just 12 percent undecided.

Are you going to start running now as a front-runner as opposed to an underdog?

“No. We’re the underdog, no question about it. When you’re running against someone who’s spent almost their entire adult life as an elected official, who is the manifestation of the machine, you can never take anything for granted,” she said.

Lightfoot said the federal shakedown investigations into Ald. Ed Burke (14th) and Ald. Danny Solis (25th) fueled a fire that ignited her campaign.

“I think it was significant in really focusing people on feeling like enough is enough. I believe we have to change aldermanic prerogative,” Lightfoot said. “I don’t think as a taxpayer and a resident of the city, you should have to go kiss the ring of an alderman to get basic city service that, by the way, you’ve already paid for.”

And Preckwinkle has already launched attack ads, portraying Lightfoot is a wealthy attorney who has represented big money.

“I am an African American woman who has been successful and it’s amazing to me that somebody like Toni Preckwinkle, of all people, would try to turn that into a negative,” Lightfoot said. “I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish and I know it’s because I know I stand on the foundation that my parents laid for me. And I’m never going to be embarrassed by that. Never.”

In response to the poll, the Preckwinkle team said Toni is embracing her underdog role and they added that she will come out on top April 2.

Wilson: Lightfoot, Preckwinkle Asked For My Support

CHICAGO (CBS) — The candidate who won the most wards the first round of Chicago’s mayoral election didn’t make the runoff.

But CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley explains why Willie Wilson thinks he can determine who wins it.

Meet the man who would be kingmaker: Willie Wilson believes his backing will be key. And both candidates, Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot have already contacted him.

“Both of them asked for my support as an endorsement,” he said.

And it’s not hard to see why. Wilson won 14 wards, the most of any candidate, concentrated on the south and west sides. In other words, African American wards.

“They’re asking for my lead. They’ll go whichever way I say go,” Wilson said.

Both Preckwinkle and Lightfoot call themselves progressives. But Wilson is pro-business, concerned about jobs, taxes and petty fees. He wants to hear the finalists’ ideas about that.

“If you raise taxes, you run jobs and businesses out of Chicago. Jobs, contracts, these red light cameras, bag taxes, those are the keys to my campaign that I’ve been talking about.”

And before he decides he is polling his supporters on his Facebook page. Supporters who are mostly black and socially conservative. When asked if his supporters would object to an endorsement of Lori Lightfoot, who is openly gay, Wilson said that issue is nothing new.

“I’m going to encourage the people who are church-based to to look at the social economic issue. People got to eat. People going to die losing their homes. Let’s look at those issues.”

Wilson’s Facebook poll for his supporters is up and running. He expects to meet with Lightfoot Friday and with Preckwinkle soon.

A Match Up No One Saw Coming: Lightfoot Vs. Preckwinkle

CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s the matchup no one saw coming: Toni Preckwinkle versus Lori Lightfoot to determine who will be Chicago’s next mayor.

CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley takes a closer look at where the votes came from, and what that means for the April election.

As both surprising finalist Lori Lightfoot and tough survivor Toni Preckwinkle greeted voters at CTA stations Wednesday morning, their camps studied the election results for clues as to the roadmap ahead.

The ward breakdown somewhat surprising: Lightfoot won 11 wards. Preckwinkle won just five. But businessman Willie Wilson won more than any candidate: 14 wards. They were all clustered on the South and West sides.

Which means much of the black vote is up for grabs, with Wilson’s endorsement a valuable commodity.

“I called everybody last night. I wanted to make sure that I reached out. We’ll be having conversations with other candidates in the coming days,” Lightfoot said.

Wilson acknowledged his influence by saying, “both Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle have called me personally and I have agreed to meet with both.”

Preckwinkle won wards concentrated along the south lakefront and the South Side, while Lightfoot was strongest on the north lakefront and North Side.

Take for example the 40th Ward, controlled by Ald. Pat O’Connor, the city council’s second-longest serving alderman. Lightfoot won it outright, 3,734 votes to Preckwinkle’s 2,133.

Or the 47th Ward, which Lightfoot won with 5,615 votes, compared to Preckwinkle’s 2,821.

“People feel like the city’s going in the wrong direction and they want somebody who’s a credible leader who’s going to stand for integrity in government and lead us in a completely different way,” Lightfoot said.

Meantime, Preckwinkle stressed her experience: 27 years as an alderman, eight years running Cook County.

“I have been a progressive my whole life and I’ve taken those progressive credentials wherever I’ve gone,” Preckwinkle said.

You’ll be hearing a lot about that in coming weeks: Which mayoral candidate is the real progressive? And which has the ability to run the city?

One more point from a data scan: it’s clear Jerry Joyce was the major factor in knocking Bill Daley out of the runoff. Joyce racked up 7,500 votes in his home base, the 19th Ward, and that beat Daley by a margin of four to one.

RELATED: Uncertainty Over Who Will Win Historic Mayoral Election

‘Sense Of Optimism’ For Upcoming Mayoral Election

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s mayoral election is four days away and 14 candidates for mayor are hoping to make a last minute appeal to voters.

CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley follows the momentum and the money.

With the election just days away, the mayoral candidates are letting it all hang out. At a Malcolm X College forum, Susana Mendoza had some choice words for two who didn’t show up: Toni Preckwinkle and Bill Daley.

“We don’t need any more Daleys. We don’t need Toni Preckwinkles who won’t show up to answer questions either,” Mendoza said.

In fact, except for Mendoza, all the candidates who’ve raked in the most last-minute money skipped the forum. Topped by far by Bill Daley, who collected close to three million dollars just within the last two weeks, with two million of that donated by Illinois’ richest man, billionaire Ken Griffin.

Daley is followed by Gery Chico at $387,000. Toni Preckwinkle with $362,000. Mendoza: $222,000 and Lori Lightfoot with $190,000. But some question how much that money has bought.

“The candidates who entered the race after (Rahm) Emanuel dropped out have spent maybe six million in advertising and haven’t budged in the polls, I think gives me a sense of optimism,” said candidate Paul Vallas.

Up until this week, Preckwinkle and Daley have been viewed as front-runners. But various polls indicate the race is tightening with Chico, Lightfoot and Mendoza all seen as possibly within striking distance. Weak turnout for early voting signals a lack of enthusiasm, with up to a quarter of voters still undecided.

“I think that’s a reflection on the confusion of the voters who don’t want to go the same way that we’ve been going,” said candidate Garry McCarthy.

“Those undecideds are more important because every vote is going to make a difference in this race,” Mendoza said.

Various sources tell CBS 2 Gery Chico and Lori Lightfoot both seem to be moving up, with Bill Daley perhaps damaged by critical TV ads funded by the construction equipment operators union. Now, Daley is spending heavily to answer those ads.

But overall Chicagoans seem somewhat bewildered, by something they’ve never experienced: A genuinely wide-open, freewheeling mayoral race.