Law-and-order candidates line up to take on Chicago's mayor
They're 'pro-cop' and oppose vax mandates
There’s still a steady flow of guns into Chicago’s neighborhoods. But incidents of gun violence have reportedly dropped. Homicides are down almost 7% compared to this time last year and the number of people shot is down 15%. The drop in shootings has been the greatest in 15 of the city's most violent community areas. Overall, those areas on the West and South sides have seen a 24% decrease in the number of people shot, or 110 fewer than last year, accounting for nearly all of this year's decrease in shootings.
Nevertheless, the issue is still seen by many as Mayor Lightfoot’s Achilles heel as she heads towards next year’s election, and there’s a group of local pols claiming they have the solution to the problem, trying to take advantage of the issue and unseat her.
Willie Wilson is one of them. He announced his candidacy yesterday, promising that if elected, he would replace Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown and appoint four or five superintendents in his stead. That’s his idea of police reform.
That brings the number of announced pro-F.O.P. law-and-order candidates targeting incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot to four. All four proclaim themselves to be anti-crime and “pro-cop” and side with the F.O.P in opposing Lightfoot’s police-reform efforts and her vaccine mandate for police and city workers.
Wilson is a Black multi-millionaire church minister and perennial mayoral candidate. He presaged his announcement last week with a million-dollar gas giveaway. He was among the ministers who fought the mayor’s church closings during the height of the pandemic and hopes to undercut Lightfoot's popularity, especially among Black women voters.
On Monday, Wilson faced questions from reporters about his voting history and his political leaning. Wilson previously revealed that he voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. He declined to answer who he voted for in 2020, and a question about whether Joe Biden was fairly elected president of the United States.
“How would I know?” Wilson said,
Three years ago, Wilson won 13 of 18 Black wards, finishing fourth overall with only 10.6% of the vote. In the runoff, Lightfoot won all of those wards — and all 50 wards citywide, running against County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle, who’s the head of the Cook County Democratic Party organization.
With the election less than a year away, Wilson joins three other announced “pro-cop” law-and-order candidates including the fascist head of the Fraternal Order of Police, John Catanzara; former school CEO Paul Vallas, who now works as a consultant for the F.O.P.; and Alderman Raymond Lopez (15th), who along with his mentor Eddie Burke, leads the anti-Lightfoot bloc in the City Council.
Remember, it was Preckwinkle’s ties to Burke that likely cost her the election in 2019.
Vallas unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2002. He also ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2014 with then-incumbent Governor Pat Quinn, losing to the Republican ticket of Bruce Rauner and Evelyn Sanguinetti. Many think it was his ties to Vallas that cost Quinn the election. In 2019, Vallas again ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Chicago, placing ninth out of fourteen candidates in the first round.
Lopez has been an outspoken opponent of no cash bail and the compassionate early release of non-violent prisoners during the COVID pandemic. 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas says Lopez has a sorry track record of voting against policies to improve Chicagoans’ lives and that voters should be alarmed by his “close partnership” with indicted Alderman Eddie Burke.
Lopez responded: He said he and Burke have neighboring wards. Working together is expected.
I’m guessing that’s the wrong answer. It’s still early so I can’t rule Lopez out. But he would have to give up his alderman’s job in order to officially run. This makes me doubt that he’s in it for real.
So far there’s no word about a possible run by CTU V.P. Stacy Davis Gates who claims the Mayor is on a “kamikaze mission to destroy” Chicago Public Schools. CTU leaders backed Preckwinkle’s losing effort last time around but may already have their hands full trying to beat back opposition in their own upcoming union election.
Despite suggestions by party regulars like David Axelrod that Lightfoot drop out of the race, I don’t see anyone here who will frighten her away. Do you?
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