The gloves are off, the race for Chicago Mayor just came spinning out of the turn. Yesterday Taxing Toni Preckwinkle announced she sicced her lawyers on Susana Mendoza's nominating petitions. Today Laurie Lightfoot another of the hopeful 21 trying to be Mayor of Chicago was bashing Alderman Burke by calling for him to step down from his powerful Finance Committee Chairmanship in light of the Federal raid on two of Burkes offices. Most Chicagoan's I'm sure by now were just getting a breather from the relentless "billionaire bash" featuring J.B (Toilets) Pritzker and Bruce (Icabod) Rauner. A heavy weight brawl ultimately won by "toilets."
Between them they spent over $260 million dollars of their own money on ads bashing each other silly. By the time this Mayoral brawl ends it will be almost hard to imagine how any of the 21 candidates for Mayor could actually dress themselves. The ads haven't started yet but soon the airways will be filled with so much gas blubbering, and bashing, watching C-Span will be a welcome relief.
Some experts have guessed that as little as 12% of the vote could get you into a two way runoff in April. Imagine the bashing that's going to bring. No matter the final two, big money and agenda's will line up behind both candidates and the battering will be relentless. A guy who owns "Junk Yards" already has given Mendoza a $100,000 dollar campaign contribution, figure that one out. Rap singers"Chance the Rapper and Kanye West have donated over $170,000 thousand dollars to the campaign of Amara Enyia another mayoral hopeful. Special interests will be fawning and donating to the candidate they think can do them the most good. Rahm Emanuel the current Mayor had over 12 million in his war chest and now will have to figure out some creative ways to unload it, since he is not running again, at least for Mayor. Oh! speaking of 12 million dollars,Lynn Sweet from the Times reports that Alderman Burke has over $12 million dollars in his campaign fund, his donors have even ponied up when he ran unopposed.
I wonder if his committee chairmanship or maybe his private law firm's work specializing in lowering property taxes for big corporations and little guys, could have anything to do with those donations. Remember he was President Trumps property tax attorney for Trump Tower in Chicago. A fact not overlooked by many in his predominately hispanic ward. He's not running opposed this time around, that's for sure.
Some experts think he's ripe for defeat this time. You wonder with the FBI raiding his offices and his election fight, why is a guy 74 years old still trying to hold onto power? And yet today, the Friends of Ed Burke will line up at his fund raiser and do their best to get noticed and of course drop those envelopes, JUST IN CASE old Teflon skates again. Imagine all those Judges who owe him their positions, why even his wife Anne Burke is an Illinois Supreme Court Justice.
While mayoral candidate Lightfoot is bashing Burke, a curious silence by the other 20 candidates is something to think about, at least Lightfoot thinks so, and I gotta admit, it is curious. This is why Chicago Politics are like no other in any other City in America. I went through the Police Academy with Alderman Burke, when we graduated I went to the inner City and Eddie the Son Of Alderman Joe Burke went downtown to walk a beat. Within a short time in 1969 he won a special election and succeeded his Father who died of cancer in 1968 as Alderman of the 14th ward.
He still to this day touts being a Chicago cop. Most think in name only. Of course if he stayed a Cop I guess all those millions would have been lost. No accusation here but it kinda fits with those cynical enough to ask how does a public servant amass that kind of wealth. City Alderman are part time employees. Maybe we will be getting an answer to that in the coming months. Speculation of course, but the FBI is looking closely at something.
Chicago could just possibly answer a question that has been on a lot of people's minds. Rauner and Pritzer were billionaires, Mayor Emanuel was a millionaire when he was elected mayor. Is it possible that a person with a normal income could break through and get elected. It's going to be interesting indeed. Let the bashing begin.
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