Mayoral Candidates Heat Up Over Endorsements, Voter Turnouts

Craig Dellimore
February 18, 2019 - 3:42 pm
Paul Valles

Craig Dellimore/WBBM


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Presidents' Day was no holiday for candidates in the Chicago Mayor's race today. There was a lot of activity and even some heated words. 

Candidates for mayor of Chicago are spending this holiday getting the word out about their campaigns — and thinking about voter turnout.

A week before the election, about a quarter of the people questioned in the latest polls are undecided among the 14 candidates for Mayor. Hopeful Gery Chico, who came with some of his staffers to the early voting site downtown, said some of those folks may just stay home to await the runoff. And that helps candidates who can get the vote out. He believes his campaign will do that.

Craig Dellimore/WBBM

Meanwhile rival candidate Amara Enyia was outlining an environmental justice platform that calls for the health department to work with local communities to deal with the impact of exposure to lead, manganese, pet coke and other toxic materials.

Lori Lightfoot harshly criticized legislation that would make the Cook County Assessor’s job appointed rather than elected. And she singled out the sponsor—and Democratic Committeeman—Representative Robert Martwick for not first consulting the new—and independent—Assessor Fritz Kaegi.  Martwick showed up at her news conference to challenge her and Lightfoot labeled him a surrogate of Joe Berrios, who was ousted as Assessor and Party chairman. Martwick is also said to be an ally of Toni Preckwinkle. 

By showing up at Lighfoot’s news conference, in which he was criticized, Martwick turned the event into pure political theater. Later, County Board President Toni Preckwinkle issued a statement saying Martwick didn’t talk to her about the bill and she doesn’t support it. She said the Assessor's job should be an elective one, and making it an appointment would make it more political, not less. 

Elsewhere, rival Paul Vallas trumpeted the endorsement of former Chicago Teachers Union President Deborah Lynch, acknowledging that the Current CTU leadership backs Preckwinkle. Vallas said the CTU endorsement was contentious and he was appealing to the rank-and-file.

"It is my understanding that the vote was pretty divisive," Valles said. 

Lynch said Vallas may have clashed with the union at times when he ran the schools, but he always showed integrity and a willingness to listen to others' ideas.