CHICAGO (CBS) — In a boost for one of the lesser-known candidates for mayor, Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper on Tuesday endorsed policy consultant Amara Enyia in the race to replace Rahm Emanuel in 2019.
“I’d like to say, very narcissistically, if I back you, you have a chance, absolutely,” Chance said Tuesday morning at City Hall.
Chance’s own popularity among Chicago youth indeed could provide a much-needed shot in the arm for Enyia’s campaign. Her name immediately became one of the top 10 trending terms on Twitter in Chicago after she and the rapper appeared together at City Hall to announce his endorsement.
Chance said he believes in Enyia, because of her work as a community activist, an educator, and her governmental experience, as a onetime policy advisor for former Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Enyia, who is the director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, also briefly ran for mayor four years ago, before dropping out and endorsing Bob Fioretti.
Chance and Enyia said his support would involve more than just an endorsement, and that he would continue supporting her campaign throughout the election.
“This is not your typical flash-in-the-pan endorsement,” Enyia said.
Chance suggested his support would also include making financial donations to Enyia’s campaign.
“I haven’t yet, but we’ll see. I got a lot of money, so it would be scary,” he said.
Claiming several candidates sought his endorsement, Chance said he wanted to support the candidate he felt would best do the job of mayor, not a candidate viewed as the most likely to win the race.
“Everybody becomes a political analyst all of a sudden when it’s election time. Nobody wants to vote for who should be mayor. Everybody wants to vote for who could be mayor. It’s always about people’s chances of becoming mayor, rather than what they plan to change when they do become mayor,” he said. “We don’t talk about the issues at hand. We don’t talk about who needs to be in office, who needs to bring change, and that’s what this is about. So we’re not worried about the names that have the most recognition, or who would beat who in a runoff, we’re worried about our individual votes, and so we will see the largest 18-25 voter turnout in Chicago’s history this upcoming election.”
Chance bristled when reporters repeatedly asked him why he wasn’t endorsing Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, given that his father, former Emanuel aide Ken Bennett, has backed Preckwinkle.
“I believe that Amara Enyia is the correct candidate. I’ve had candidates that I supposedly had a good relationship with hit me up and let me know that they are the most likely person to win this seat, and that I’m throwing away an endorsement, and I just want to continue to push the point that there is no monolith in votes,” Chance said. “We are all individuals, and we will all individually say who we believe can run this city correctly, who can run City Hall correctly, and this is who I believe is the correct person.”
Chance and Enyia said they plan to launch a major voter registration drive and voter education campaign.
The mayoral election is still four months away, but a celebrity push for voter registration could make a big difference in just a few weeks when voters cast ballots in 2018 elections. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners has said voters ages 18 to 34 already are up 59,000 compared to 2014.
“Today is the beginning of Chicago’s next level. We’ve been in the trenches on the city’s behalf,” Enyia said. “We want to make sure that this campaign is not just about Chicago. This is actually national in scope. The influence that Chance brings to this is because this is part of a broader movement for people who are clamoring for a different kind of city.”
Chance’s endorsement of Enyia comes on the same day City Treasurer Kurt Summers announced he would not be joining the crowded race for mayor.
In addition to Enyia, at least 15 others have announced plans to run for mayor in 2019, including:
• Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle,
• former White House chief of staff and Commerce Secretary Bill Daley,
• Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown,
• former Chicago Public Schools principal Troy LaRaviere,
• former Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico,
• former Chicago Police Board president Lori Lightfoot,
• former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy,
• former CPS Chief Executive Officer Paul Vallas,
• millionaire businessman Willie Wilson,
• community activist Ja’Mal Green,
• attorney Jeremiah Joyce Jr.,
• former City Council candidate John Kozlar,
• DePaul University student Matthew Roney,
• tech entrepreneur Neal Sales-Griffin,
• and perennial candidate William “Dock” Walls.