Tag Archives: City Hall

Preckwinkle Campaign Won’t Be Airing Ads For A While; Expert Says “It Means They’re Broke”

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle says she won’t be airing any more television, at least for a while.

This comes exactly two weeks before the mayoral runoff and one day after the launch of citywide early voting.

It’s a critical time for candidates to keep their campaigns and profiles in the public eye, and consultants say television is still the best way to do that. But for Preckwinkle right now, that’s apparently not an option.

Although Preckwinkle’s campaign isn’t saying it, one political insider who spoke with CBS 2 believes it is a sign her campaign is on life support.

“We’re making strategic decisions to put us in the best place to win this campaign,” Preckwinkle said in response to questions about why her campaign is going dark for the coming days.

Preckwinkle sidestepped the matter after receiving endorsements from Congressman Danny Davis and other elected officials and before another mayoral forum with runoff opponent Lori Lightfoot.

“I’m very grateful for the warm reception that I’ve received around the city and particularly I’m grateful for the support I’ve received today on the West Side of Chicago,” she said.

But CBS 2 has learned it’s more than strategy. She stopped spending any money on tv advertising in Chicago.

“It means they’re broke,” said longtime political consultant Pete Giangreco. “And usually what that means is there’s polling numbers that show that there really isn’t a path.”

Preckwinkle’s big money supporters see the numbers and the polls.

“You don’t see another million dollar check coming from any of the big unions, and so I think you know that they’ve decided there isn’t a path,” Giangreco said. “And so the million dollars isn’t coming, and the Preckwinkle campaign is off the air as a result at the worst possible time.”

It comes two weeks before the runoff election and just as Lightfoot launched a brand new ad.

Giangreco said his advice for Preckwinkle right now would be, “Don’t go into debt.”

A representative for Preckwinkle’s campaign did not provide further comment, instead referring back to what she said in the earlier press conference.

Lori Lightfoot’s campaign did not comment on Preckwinkle’s ad position.

Consultants say if Preckwinkle gets another infusion of cash, another television ad is likely.

 

 

Preckwinkle Has Stopped Spending Money On TV Ads

CHICAGO (CBS) — CBS 2 has learned mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle has stopped spending money on TV ads.

No commercials booked for at least the next three days.

CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley has the story from Malcolm X College where Lori Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot are taking part in a mayoral forum.

It’s a highly unusual step with exactly two weeks until election day.  CBS 2 is told Preckwinkle’s TV campaign will be dark for the coming days.

That could change with more fundraising, but it certainly appears the campaign is out of TV cash at least for now.

At the Malcom X forum, Toni Preckwinkle again said she’d fire Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. Lori Lightfoot said she’d evaluate him first.

“We have to have a police superintendent who acknowledges there’s a code of silence in the police department and there’s racism in the police department. We have to begin with that,” Preckwinkle said.

“There’s a time and place to have that conversation, but it’s after the summer and we’ll evaluate the job that he has done and whether on the same course and have the same vision,” Lightfoot said.

Meantime, Toni Preckwinkle received the endorsement of a host of west siders, including the dean of West Side politics, U.S. Congressman Danny Davis.

“She has already demonstrated that she knows how to make things happen and how to get things done,” Davis said.

All emphasized Preckwinkle’s experience, while trying to square her position as Cook County Democratic chair with her history as a progressive.

“Under the leadership of Toni Preckwinkle, it’s not the party you remember. It’s a new party. We have not seen the kind of diversity that we see today without her help,” said Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough.

And Lightfoot debuted her closing campaign ad, featuring her 11-year-old daughter, photobombing Lightfoot’s pitch to voters until the very end.

Asked if she’ll have a closing TV spot, Preckwinkle wouldn’t say.

“We’re making strategic decisions to put us in the best place to win this campaign,” Preckwinkle said.

Preckwinkle and Lightfoot will face off at least eight more times in forums and debates before April 2. But it’s unclear if Preckwinkle will be able to afford more TV commercials before the end of the campaign.

Get to know the candidates with our voter guide at CBSChicago.com/voterguide and you can find candidate bios and their positions on key issues.

Preckwinkle Downplays Lightfoot’s Endorsements From Former Mayoral Rivals

CHICAGO (CBS) —  Lori Lightfoot picked up endorsements from a major union and a former mayoral candidate.

While Toni Preckwinkle showed solidarity with striking workers.

CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley is tracking the candidates.

Lori Lightfoot donned a hard hat as she accepted support from Chicago’s 20,000 union laborers. And Lightfoot acknowledged she’s feeling momentum.

“I do think we have momentum, but I take nothing for granted,” Lightfoot said. “We’ve got to keep focus every single moment for the next 20 days.”

An additional Lightfoot endorsement came Thursday from former mayoral candidate Gery Chico, joining former candidates Paul Vallas and Willie Wilson in backing Lightfoot.

“We’ve got to build hope and innovation all over the city and I’m proud of the endorsements that we have received,” Lightfoot said.

Not surprisingly, money has followed that momentum. During the first round of the mayoral race, Toni Preckwinkle far outraised Lightfoot.

But since March 8, the roles have reversed.

Lightfoot has raised $676,000, including $100,000 from the sources linked to the Wirtz family, owners of the Chicago Blackhawks, another $100,000 from financier John Canning and $50,000 from Craig Duchossois, part of the family that owns Arlington Racetrack.

By contrast, Preckwinkle has raised $329,000 with labor unions the biggest contributors at $135,000.

On Thursday, Preckwinkle joined striking Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians on their Michigan Aveune picket line, downplaying the significance of Gery Chico’s endorsement of Lightfoot.

“My view is you’ve got to meet the voters where they are, and talk to them about their concerns and share your vision,” Preckwinkle said. “I think that’s what really matters.”

What’s the state of the race with 19 days to go?

There is one small, new snapshot from the North Side’s 2nd ward. A poll done for Ald. Brian Hopkins shows Lightfoot at 68 percent, Preckwinkle at 20 percent.

It’s just one ward, but those margins track two other citywide polls.

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.

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.

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.

Wilson: Whoever I Endorse Will Be The Next Mayor Of Chicago

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 explained why Willie Wilson thinks he can determine who wins it.

“Whoever I endorse will be the next mayor of the city of Chicago.”

Meet the man who would be king-maker. 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.

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

And before he decides, Wilson is polling his supporters on his Facebook page. Supporters who are mostly black and socially conservative. When asked if they would object to an endorsement of Lori Lightfoot, who is openly gay, Wilson said that’s not really new.

“I’m going to encourage the people who are church-based 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 said the Facebook poll from his supporters is up and running. He said he expects to meet with Lightfoot on Friday and with Preckwinkle in a few days.