May 16, 2022 - Politics

Crunchy campaign nuggets from around Illinois

Guy with a sweatshirt on

Radio host Maze Jackson attends the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Photo: Morgan Lieberman/Getty Images)

It's not every day that a local assessor's race is hit with accusations of antisemitism.

Why it matters: Eleven Jewish lawmakers sent a letter to Water Reclamation Commissioner Kari Steele, a Democrat running against incumbent Fritz Kaegi for Cook County assessor, about remarks made on her husband Maze Jackson's WVON talk show.

What they're saying: According to the letter, Jackson recently referred to a "Jewish organization," which he alleges "controls" activists who are part of the Chicago Housing Initiative.

  • "This is a classic dog whistle, calling forth the time-worn trope that Jews control social institutions behind the scenes," the lawmakers say in the letter.
  • "His shows' call-in segments include vicious, irrational rants filled with accusations against Jews, none of which [Jackson] squelches, challenges, disputes or even interrupts."

The other side: "I unequivocally reject any hateful rhetoric and apologize for the comments made on my husband’s show and the hurt they caused the Jewish community," Steele said in a statement.

  • "Callers call in and they say what they have to say and I don't feel I should have to wear the jacket for their comments."

Playing the Trump card

Text messages show that GOP gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin may not have been a fan of President Trump, contrary to recent campaign messages. In 2018, Irvin texted that Trump was "an idiot" and a "bigoted racist."

  • Irvin said in a recent statement that he couldn't recall the texts and added "the Trump administration delivered positive results for Americans like tax cuts."

Downtown violence

This weekend's violence downtown has already turned into campaign fodder for the mayor's race.

  • After Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted from Texas, potential mayoral candidate Paul Vallas replied to her tweet, saying: "Flash Mobs once again ravaging downtown, our short handed, restrained & demoralized police are overwhelmed. Expect repeats all summer. Meanwhile, our incompetent Mayor is in Texas fundraising & grandstanding pretending to be tough. A total abdication of responsibility."

Ad of the week: Kam Buckner

State Rep. Kam Buckner announced he's running for mayor and put out a campaign kickoff video that showcases great locations in Chicago that rarely get seen. It even has a nice little storyline.

  • And he gives us this gem: "I'm running for the people of Chicago, who love Chicago, who just want Chicago to love them back."

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