Trying to Make Sense of Crowded, Chaotic Chicago Mayoral Race

Trying to Make Sense of Crowded, Chaotic Chicago Mayoral Race

Monday marks the beginning of early voting for the Chicago mayoral election, and that means we’re just a little more than two weeks away from Election Day. Are you tired of getting unsolicited e-mails from Bill Daley? Badly need to opt-out of those text messages from Paul Vallas?

And how did these people even get our contact info to begin with? I still don’t know who I’m going to vote for, as the Chicago mayoral race field is so egregiously overcrowded that calling it obnoxious is an understatement.

Maybe trying to sort out the chaos here will help me move towards a decision. Before we get to the candidates, we need to talk about what could be the most important x-factor in this election. And for that we enlisted the help of Theresa Siaw, candidate for 26th Ward Alderman.

theresa siaw

We first caught up with Siaw at her holiday charity event, with Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr., just before Christmas. You can read that exclusive interview over at this link.

We also caught up to her again at a community outreach event, where she appeared alongside Chicago Bears legend Otis Wilson. In our second interview, we discussed the issue of aldermanic privilege and the corruption case of Ald. Edward M. Burke.

“I think it is a game-changer, and this is a problem when you have politicians that have been sitting in City Hall and sitting on the City Council for so many years,” said Siaw.

“He was there since 1969. We have allowed this type of corruption to go on, and we need to wake up as a community, as citizens. We need to start putting term limits on people. Because otherwise you’re just going to have the same old, same old going on for a very long time.

“It’s probably not just Burke- he’s one of the very few people who got caught.”

theresa siaw carl edwards jr

If she does get onto the City Council she promises to fight for term limits, as she believes no office holder should be in power for more than eight years.

The Burke corruption scandal brings with it the potential to get more anti-establishment voters to the polls on Feb. 26. It could create a stronger backlash against politicians who are perceived to be part of the machine and that could influence the mayoral election outcome.


Toni Preckwinkle

At 16 percent, Preckwinkle has emerged as the front-runner in the latest poll. If no candidate reaches 51 percent or higher, the election will then go to a run-off on April 2. In other words, yes, we’ll be doing this again come April.

Preckwinkle may have the inside track because she is head of the Democratic party in Cook County. She’s also the current County Board President. However, in order to remain in the pole position she will need to work hard on distancing herself from Burke, as her campaign collected $116,000 at a fundraiser held at Burke’s home just last year.

bill daley

Bill Daley (14 percent in latest poll)

Daley, on name recognition alone, is another choice for any voter who wishes to not rage against the machine. He’s also leading the way, by a very wide margin in campaign spending. Daley has also picked up the endorsements of national Democrat heavy hitters like Howard Dean and Al Gore.

“During his time in public service and while working in the private sector, Bill has shown us he is a strong leader who gets things done,” Gore said. “He is committed to addressing the greatest issue of our generation: the climate crisis. Bill understands the threat that the climate crisis presents and the role that big cities must play to address it.

“He is the right person to tackle this issue head-on. That’s why he has my support.”

al gore

Gery Chico (11 percent)

Chico, former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Chief of Staff, has boldly spoken out against aldermanic privilege.

“You also have to ban all outside income,” Chico said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. “This city is tired; it’s ready for a complete ban on outside income.”

Long shots, but hey you never know?

Lori Lightfoot (7 percent)

One of the original candidates that’s been in the derby since the beginning, she is still a mostly unknown commodity. However, the former President of the Chicago Police Board and assistant U.S. Attorney, has picked up the endorsement of the Chicago Sun-Times.

lori lightfoot

Amari Enyia (7 percent)

The Policy Consultant has the endorsements of Chicago MCs Chance the Rapper and Kanye West, but as we’ve seen time and time in national elections, celebrity backing is not a king maker.

Susana Mendoza (7 percent)

In the words of Principal Skinner on that one episode of The Simpsons “Let’s hear it for the real Comptroller!” (Sorry, there aren’t many pop culture references that you can make for state comptrollers). Mendoza is a little suspect as a candidate due to her coyness and mixed messaging in the announcement of her campaign.

However, she does have one huge endorsement in her favor- Georgia Congresswoman Stacy Abrams, who gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union last week.

Never going to happen

garry mccarthy

Garry McCarthy

McCarthy looks like every police captain in every cop buddy picture who yells at his subordinates: “You’re a loose cannon! If you don’t shape up, I’ll take your badge away for good!” McCarthy’s strong telegenic presence may come from the fact that he is a bit of a “reality TV star” (an oxymoron in the purest sense), as he was featured in prominently in CNN’s horrific abomination in 2014 known as Chicagoland.

The former Chicago Police Superintendent is running on a platform of being tough on crime — and crime being our city’s biggest issue by far. At least if he stays on the McGruff the Crime Dog kick (which is how his television ads seem to come off anyway), it would take Chicago’s attention away from his terrible suburb annexation idea.

McCarthy, in the interests of solving the pension crisis and depopulation problem, wants to annex Oak Park, Norridge, Evergreen Park and Oak Lawn.

This idea went over like a lead balloon. And his crime fighting chops have taken a hit, too, given how the Laquan McDonald shooting happened while he was the city’s top cop.

garry mccarthy

“People feel like justice wasn’t really served,” said Siaw in regards to the lighter than expected sentencing of convicted former police officer Jason Van Dyke.

Siaw also said that crime and lack of trust in the police department will be a major issues in the this election and we couldn’t agree more.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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