Wilson keeps the faith in 3rd run for mayor- POLITICO

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Happy Tuesday, Illinois. Track season is moving outdoors, so it really feels like third spring.

Willie Wilson’s entry yesterday into the 2023 mayor’s race could be a blessing and a curse for Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who hasn’t officially announced her re-election bid but is ramping up her political campaign nonetheless.

Wilson, a business owner and McDonald’s franchisee, has made headlines for giving away $1.2 million in gas cards in recent weeks. He said Monday he’s bankrolling his campaign to the tune of $5 million.

That blows the fundraising caps for all candidates in the 2023 mayoral race, “potentially making it easier for Lightfoot to raise the $15 million [that] some political observers believe she will need to defend her record and boost her dismal public approval rating,” according to the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Four years ago, Wilson won a little over 10 percent of the vote in the first round of the mayor’s race. He went on to endorse Lightfoot in the runoff, a move that was credited with helping her win over conservative Black voters.

Yesterday, Wilson said he regrets making that endorsement. “It was a hell of a mistake,” he said at a press conference announcing his bid. WGN 9 has the full press conference.

Wilson’s big complaint about Lightfoot is her handling of the pandemic. “You should not shut down churches because of Covid-19 when you don’t shut down the marijuana places. Our religion is sacred,” he said. “This lady, the mayor of Chicago, had the nerve to come into churches and tell them to close down and give them tickets [if they refused]. I totally resent that."

That needling is going to be a familiar refrain, says political consultant Ron Holmes, who isn’t working with any of the mayoral candidates. “Lightfoot is going to spend the rest of this term waking up to an onslaught of attacks from an ideologically diverse field attempting to discredit her and label her as a failure on a variety of issues.” While Wilson zeroed in on Covid-19, Ald. Raymond Lopez, who was first to join the race, is hammering on crime.

Lightfoot’s response: “It’s that season. People are going to jump in. People are going to try to distinguish themselves. But what I’m going to do every single day is focus on doing the job that the people elected me to do,” she said, via Tribune’s Gregory Pratt and Alice Yin.

This is Wilson’s third try for mayor. He also ran in 2015, when he also received about 10 percent of the vote. Should he win over those voters again, and depending on how many other candidates get in the race, Lightfoot could be pushed into another runoff.

Wilson said if elected mayor, he’d give his salary to churches and nonprofits.

But he hedged in answering questions from WTTW’s Heather Cherone about who he voted for in the 2020 presidential campaign and whether he believed Joe Biden won fair and square.

“That’s personal,” he said. “You’ve never heard me say it was an unfair election. I won’t answer if I don’t want to answer. I’m running for mayor of Chicago — not president."

Lightfoot used the comments to her advantage. Hours after Wilson’s presser, the mayor sent a fundraising letter to supporters, saying, “We’ve been alerted to a new opponent … This person also has a long track record of supporting far-right Republicans like Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner, who have brought serious harm to OUR communities.”

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Lopez’s bid for mayor could energize LGBTQ activists, voters: “If elected mayor, Ald. Ray Lopez would make history — as Lightfoot did. Lopez would be the first openly gay and Latino person to serve as mayor,” by Sun-Times’ Laura Washington.

TRAFFIC JAM FOR RUSH’s SEAT: The Democratic primary for Rep. Bobby Rush’s South Side congressional seat is so crowded that political consultant Pete Giangreco compares it to “the Dan Ryan at 5:30.”

Rush sees the choice as simple. He’s backing the little-known Karin Norington-Reaves, a nonprofit executive with no significant political experience. “I recruited someone who I thought fit my district like a hand in glove,” Rush told your Playbook host.

His endorsement isn’t swaying 19 others from trying to win the seat, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s son, Jonathan Jackson, state Sen. Jacqueline Collins and Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell.

With so many candidates in the race, fundraising to promote name recognition will be key to getting voters’ attention for the June 28 primary. The winner could emerge with as little as 20 percent of the vote, hearkening to the 2009 special primary that saw then-county commissioner Mike Quigley come out on top with 22 percent of the vote among 12 candidates to replace Rahm Emanuel in the 5th Congressional District after he was named Obama’s chief of staff.

Others vying for Rush’s seat: Jonathan Swain, a former appointee of mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel; Charise Williams, a public policy leader backed by businessman John Rogers Jr.; Chris Butler, a pastor endorsed by former Rep. Dan Lipinski for his opposition to abortion; and Jahmal Cole, who heads a nonprofit that’s been recognized by the Obama Foundation. Here’s the full story.

At Harold Washington Library at 5:45 p.m. to celebrate Mayor Harold Washington’s 100th birthday.

At Harold Washington Library at 5 p.m. to celebrate Mayor Harold Washington’s 100th birthday.

At the Cook County Health Professional Building a 10 a.m. to announce a $12 million grant to support initiatives that address Covid-19 education, prevention and treatment, as well as mental health, food insecurity and child development.

Info sought in NOLA ‘smart cities’ deal, which is tied to Valencia’s husband: A New Orleans council member wants “any and all communications” with Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia, who helped make introductions between NOLA officials and her husband, Ignite Cities’ Reyahd Kazmi, and Ignite’s founder, George Burciaga. The action comes after Illinois Reporter Mark Maxwell’s report last week about Valencia, a secretary of state candidate, and Ignite Cities.

— Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi has been endorsed by Citizen Action in his re-election bid. Citizen Action is a public interest group that’s led campaigns “for lower utility rates, fair taxes, affordable and quality health care, insurance and campaign finance reform.”

— Delia Ramirez has been endorsed by Congressional Progressive Caucus members Reps. Mondaire Jones of New York, Sylvia Garcia of Texas and Linda Sanchez of California. Ramirez is competing in the Democratic primary for the newly drawn 3rd Congressional District.

— Jaylin D. McClinton has been endorsed by Democracy For America, founded by former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean. McClinton is running for Cook County commissioner.

Republican governor candidate Richard Irvin’s campaign is out with another mailer that’s full of irony. In the latest item landing in mail boxes, the Aurora mayor slams fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan for backing open borders and amnesty for illegal immigrants.

It’s apparently based on an article Sullivan wrote some 15 years ago. The funny thing, though, is that Irvin has supported Aurora as a sanctuary city and has praised DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It’s the policy that allows some immigrants to stay in the United States even if they don’t have citizenship.

In a little bit of oppo, Irvin in  2019 said Aurora backs Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in “prohibiting the use of our resources to aid or support ICE in its enforcement activities." In the same statement, Irvin vowed that Aurora Police will continue their practice of declining to ask for a person’s immigration status.

The irony continues. In other campaign mailers, Irvin has tried to paint state Sen. Darren Bailey, another Republican candidate for governor, as a sort of liberal, which is as funny as can be. Bailey is a card-carrying conservative backed by far-right Republican Jeanne Ives.

Tina Wallace has raised $100,000 in the first quarter in the Democratic primary for the 19th District House seat now held by Rep. Lindsey LaPointe.

Illinois Dems join Biden in taking aim at specter of elusive ‘ghost guns’: “The Illinois measure — which is on its way to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk — requires all firearms, including 3D printed guns, to have serial numbers, which would effectively ban ghost guns. It’s the lack of those identifying numbers that have made the guns undetectable,” by Sun-Times’ Tina Sfondeles and Frank Main

How some states could get shorted with lead pipe removal funds: “I know all states are going to need funding to address this lead service line issue,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing last week. “But I am very concerned that Illinois, it seems, is disproportionately not getting the money.”

Illinois’ shady political image weighs on appeal of its debt: “The indictment of ex-House Speaker Michael Madigan is another blemish for Illinois to overcome as it looks to boost a credit rating that ranks below all other U.S. states,” by Bloomberg’s Shruti Singh

Dip in sports betting activity for February in Illinois, reports Legal Sports Betting Evan Thornton

— Some of the most powerful aldermen show up to work the least: “A wave of new City Council members campaigned against incumbents by citing their low attendance at meetings. Now, the freshmen are outperforming the veterans,” by Daily Line’s Alex Nitkin and Erin Hegarty, WBEZ’s Claudia Morell, and Crain’s A.D. Quig Here’s how the council members rank on attendance

Lightfoot unveils upgrades to summer jobs program, Youth Service Corps:All summer jobs earmarked for young people ages 14 to 24 will pay the city’s minimum wage: $15 an hour. That’s up to $1,800 extra in the pockets of young people whose families need it most,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman

Did Lightfoot act too fast in rejecting a McCormick Place casino? “The agency that runs McCormick Place now is preparing to seek its own bidders to repurpose the very same Lakeside Center for ‘entertainment’ or other use,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz

It’s road construction season. Expect work on the Tri-State and Byrne Interchange, by Tribune’s Sarah Freishtat

Sky-high delivery app fees are killing my restaurant, owner says months after pandemic cap lifted, by Sun-Times’ Manny Ramos

Chicago Joe’s auction: ‘Everything is being sold,’ by Sun-Times’ Manny Ramos and Tom Schuba

El Milagro Tortilla workers gain improved pay, shorter hours after months of negotiations, by Eater’s Aimee Levitt

United adding 1,000 jobs in local hiring binge: “The carrier plans a career fair Wednesday at the United Center,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder

As Cook County property tax bills again face long delays, officials point fingers over who’s to blame: “The tardiness could impose a hardship not only on property owners but also on taxing bodies such as public school districts and other forms of local government. And it comes after second-installment bills faced a two-month delay in 2021,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin

Q&A with Cook County Commissioner Bill Lowry who addresses new flag and anti-violence efforts: "We’re at a point where everything that I certainly do, I try to be generational, not transactional," Lowry told Hyde Park Herald’s Aaron Gettinger

We asked what you’ll do with the tax-relief check that state lawmakers approved as part of the budget: Maybe it’s too early to decide. Only Mark Heffington of the Pittsfield High School History Department had thoughts, and they were snarky: “Put it toward next year’s exorbitantly high property taxes.”

When did you win a running race? Email skapos@politico.com

— Kirk Dillard has been reappointed to the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission. It’s a bipartisan move. Dillard, a Chicago attorney, is a former Republican state senator who was appointed by Democratic Senate President Don Harmon. Dillard has served as a commissioner since 2012. The court’s Historic Preservation Commission was created in 2007 to help acquire, preserve and catalog documents, artifacts and information relating to the Illinois judiciary.

— Brian Bernardoni, a longtime Illinois lobbyist, was inducted into the Illinois State University Steve and Sandi Adams Legacy Hall of Fame at a ceremony on campus Friday. He earned a political science degree and studied public administration there before going on to work for the Clinton/Gore campaign.

How a Trump ally got his unfounded voting-machine audit push in front of federal cyber cops, by POLITICO’s Betsy Woodruff Swan, Lee Hudson and Zaach Montellaro

Biden’s solution to the politics of rising crime: Focus on guns, by POLITICO’s Laura Barron-Lopez

New York Dems pare back nation-leading bail reform amid crime wave, by POLITICO’s Joseph Spector and Anna Gronewold

Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.: A viewing of “Punch 9,” a documentary film about Chicago Mayor Harold Washington will be shown at the Union League Club as part of a celebration for what would have been his 100th birthday. Registration here

MONDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Ashvin Lad, Mark McCombs and Michael Penicnak for being quick on the draw to correctly answer that Clinton County produces the most milk cows in Illinois.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Where is this landmark located and what does it signify? Email skapos@politico.com

Congressman Chuy Garcia, Ald. Roderick Sawyer, attorney and political consultant Brendan Shiller, Los Angeles policy analyst and Northwestern grad Nick Campbell, Gibsons Restaurant Group’s Stephen Lombardo, author Scott Turow, and Marko John Supronyuk, a member of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Councils for Community Engagement and a VP at JPMorgan Chase.

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April 12, 2022 at 07:34AM

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