Fioretti runs again: Joins crowded race to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel

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Four years after finishing fourth out of five mayoral candidates, former Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) on Friday jumped into the way more crowded race to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Fioretti updated the Friends of Bob Fioretti campaign committee he used to challenge County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in the Democratic primary and turned it into a mayoral campaign committee.

As a candidate for mayor in 2015 and as an alderman before that, Fioretti was Emanuel’s most outspoken critic.

He had accused Emanuel of engaging in pay-to-play politics, pointing to the $32 million that Emanuel had raised since 2010 and the nexus between the mayor’s official actions and public appearances on behalf of his most generous donors.

But after finishing fourth with 7.4 percent of the vote in Round One, Fioretti endorsed Emanuel in the run-off against Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

Bob Fioretti. File Photo. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Bob Fioretti. File Photo. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Fioretti’s about-face was so abrupt, critics accused him of selling out in exchange for a pledge from Emanuel to help retire Fioretti’s $200,000 campaign debt.

At the time, Emanuel acknowledged that he had agreed to help make Fioretti whole, as he did four years earlier with vanquished challengers Carol Mosely-Braun and Gery Chico. But, Emanuel denied there was any quid pro quo.

Fioretti said then he endorsed Emanuel-not because of his debt, but because he firmly believed the mayor was better equipped and had a more realistic plan to solve Chicago’s pension crisis.

A perennial candidate, Fioretti tried again in March to unseat Preckwinkle as County Board President.

With very little money, he managed to get 40 percent of the vote and a sizable protest vote against Preckwinkle by highlighting the repeal of her tax on sugary soft drinks.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and her challenger in the Democratic primary, Bob Fioretti, met with the Sun-Times Editorial Board Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and her challenger in the Democratic primary, Bob Fioretti, met with the Sun-Times Editorial Board Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Fioretti managed to get at least a third of the vote and up to 40 percent of the vote in African-American wards that should have been a cornerstone of Preckwinkle’s political base.

Preckwinkle will now face off against Fioretti again in the crowded race for mayor.

But only if his late start doesn’t preclude him from gathering the 12,500 signatures by the Nov. 26 deadline — and three times that many if he hopes to have cushion enough to survive a petition challenge.

Fioretti could not be reached for comment.

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November 16, 2018 at 04:04PM

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