CHICAGO (CBS) — Just days after Toni Preckwinkle’s campaign stopped spending money on TV ads, her bid for mayor picked up a boost with the endorsement of Grammy winner Chance the Rapper.
“I want everybody to know the truth, and the truth is that the most qualified person in terms of somebody that’s going to look out for all the people of Chicago – in terms of the person who’s going to account for the police, for victims of gun crime, for victims of economic crime – is Toni Preckwinkle,” he said.
At a City Hall press conference, Chance said he consulted with several activists and community organizers before choosing between Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot, and said many of them voiced concerns about Lightfoot.
“The resounding voice has been that they don’t necessarily feel comfortable or safe going into a city where Lori Lightfoot sits on the 5th floor,” he said. “Her past record as a prosecutor has not been in the best interests of young black people in Chicago, hasn’t been entirely truthful, and even her campaign and the image that she has created since the February election has been, like I just said, very untrue.”
Chance said activists with groups like Black Lives Matter, the #NoCopAcademy movement, Assata’s Daughters, and BYP100 “appreciate Toni Preckwinkle.”
“She stands in those same spaces, and is for [community benefits agreements], is for utilizing some of the funds that we’ve used – 40 percent of the city’s budget overall, actually – towards policing, and redistributing that wealth and that funding to things that actually equip young black folks to accomplish what they need to and survive in this city,” he said.
Chance’s father, Ken Bennett, is Preckwinkle’s campaign chairman, but Chance had endorsed Amara Enyia in the first round of the mayor’s race, and gave $400,000 to her campaign in January. The rapper said while he’s now backing Preckwinkle in the runoff, he won’t be making any donations to her campaign.
“I don’t have any more money for Chicago politics,” he said.
Preckwinkle has said she won’t be airing any more television ads, with less than two weeks to go until the runoff election against Lori Lightfoot.
“We’re making strategic decisions to put us in the best place to win this campaign,” Preckwinkle said in response to questions about why her campaign is going dark for the coming days.
It’s a critical time for candidates to keep their campaigns and profiles in the public eye, and consultants say television is still the best way to do that. But for Preckwinkle right now, that’s apparently not an option.
Although Preckwinkle’s campaign isn’t saying it, one political insider who spoke with CBS 2 believes it is a sign her campaign is on life support.
“It means they’re broke,” said longtime political consultant Pete Giangreco. “And usually what that means is there’s polling numbers that show that there really isn’t a path.”
Preckwinkle’s big money supporters see the numbers and the polls.
“You don’t see another million dollar check coming from any of the big unions, and so I think you know that they’ve decided there isn’t a path,” Giangreco said. “And so the million dollars isn’t coming, and the Preckwinkle campaign is off the air as a result at the worst possible time.”
Preckwinkle and Lightfoot will face off at least seven more times in forums and debates before the election on April 2, but it’s unclear if Preckwinkle will be able to afford more TV commercials before the end of the campaign.