There’s never been much doubt that Susana Mendoza would jump into the crowded race to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel as soon as she was safely re-elected as state comptroller.
But what little doubt there was disappeared on Friday.
WBEZ-FM Radio got a hold of a video of Mendoza declaring her candidacy for mayor.
Reporter Dan Mihalopoulos tweeted a short clip of the video where Mendoza, dressed in a grayish-green cable sweater, saying, “I’m Susana Mendoza and I’m running for mayor of Chicago. And I ask you to join me on this journey together.”
The pre-mature release comes at a difficult time for Mendoza. It gives her Republican opponent for state comptroller Darlene Senger more ammunition to say Mendoza has one foot out the door.
“I am focused on the Nov. 6 election because too much is at stake for the people of Illinois,” Mendoza, whose supporters have been circulating mayoral nominating petitions on her behalf for weeks, was quoted as saying in an emailed statement.
“I’m considering a run for another office and have taken steps to prepare for that should I choose to move forward but I have not made any formal decisions.”
Eric Adelstein, Mendoza’s political consultant, stepped up to take the blame for the mayoral video.
“We were filming her comptroller ads and I suggested that, while she hasn’t made up her mind on the mayor’s race, she should record some lines so we had them and could move quickly if she decides ultimately to run. It’s a tight time-frame,” Adelstein said, noting the Nov. 28 mayoral filing deadline.
“She hasn’t made up her mind. One-hundred percent. l hope she runs … because the city could really use her energy, her drive and her vision. … But, maybe I jumped the gun by urging her to go out. … People should be focussed on Tuesday.”
During a recent appearance before the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board, Mendoza found a clever way around her one-foot-out-the-door dilemma.
She promised to serve out her four-year term as comptroller, if Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is re-elected to a second term.
Democrat J.B. Pritzker is the overwhelming favorite to defeat Rauner on Tuesday.
Whenever Mendoza decides to formally enter the mayor’s race, she will become the second Hispanic candidate and immediately become a potential frontrunner.
She is 25 years younger than County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and a proven vote-getter along the lakefront and among younger voters now dominating the political scene.
Mendoza also has an engaging personality that has been on displace for weeks in television commercials running in the Chicago market showing her playing soccer and talking about standing up to bullies.
Those same adds can easily be edited just slightly into commercials for her mayoral campaign.
Mendoza’s major political liability appears to be her close and longstanding political relationship with House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago). In the Legislature, Mendoza was a feisty ally of the powerful Southwest Side Democrat.
But, that was long before the speaker’s reputation took a political beating from Rauner and from the #MeToo sexual harassment scandal that has forced him to cut ties with several high-ranking members of his own staff and political organization.
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November 2, 2018 at 04:04PM