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.