CHICAGO (CBS) — In what might prove to be a crucial decision in the race for mayor, Willie Wilson is endorsing Lori Lightfoot over Toni Preckwinkle.
Wilson announced his endorsement Friday afternoon at Chicago Baptist Institute International in the Washington Park neighborhood.
Speaking earlier at the City Club of Chicago, Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor and former Chicago Police Board president, said she looks forward to working with WIlson “to bring the change that this city needs.”
“I’m happy to have his endorsement; because I think, fundamentally, where he and I agree is the absolute urgent necessity to invest in our neighborhoods to change people’s lives, and to give them opportunity and hope. That shared value is where we have connected,” Lightfoot said.
Wilson came in fourth in total votes in the first round of the mayor’s race last month, but won the most wards of any candidate, taking 14 wards, amassing more than 50,000 votes in largely African American neighborhoods on the South and West sides. Lightfoot won 11 wards, mostly along the North Side and north Lakefront.
If Wilson’s backing holds enough sway in the black wards he won, his support could prove to be a major boon to Lightfoot with less than four weeks until the April runoff.
Last week, Wilson said he wanted to poll his supporters and meet with both candidates before deciding whom to endorse.
For the most part, Wilson’s supporters are socially conservative. When asked last week if his supporters would object to an endorsement of Lightfoot, who is openly gay, Wilson said that issue is nothing new.
“I’m going to encourage the people who are church-based to to look at the social economic issue. People got to eat. People going to die losing their homes. Let’s look at those issues,” Wilson said.
Meantime, Preckwinkle is expected to receive the endorsement of an assortment of black faith leaders.