Jan 30, 2023 - Politics

Trail Mix: "Chuy" García off to rough start, Pritzker plays kingmaker

Illustration of Chicago City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

This week's Trail Mix column dishes up nuggets on next month's municipal election — that has already seen 808 early ballots cast!

García's rough start

When Rep. Jesús "Chuy" García entered the mayoral race, he touted his experience and connections to Chicago political giants as selling points. But recently those links have been tripping him up.

State of play: First, it was the controversy over taking money from disgraced crypto exec Sam Bankman-Fried.

The big picture: There's plenty of time left in the campaign, but my guess is that's not how García wanted to start.

Lightfoot's recruitment flub

When I first read about a Lightfoot staffer trying to recruit volunteers through CPS, I bought the mayor's explanation that it was an "honest mistake" and routine for campaigns to recruit students.

  • Well, that may be wrong.

Fact check: The Tribune has published emails suggesting that CPS clearly warned Lightfoot campaign staffers that "no recruitment for interns or [volunteers] can be done on campus or by staff/teachers" and that classroom credit cannot be provided.

  • But hours later, a Lightfoot campaign statement defended it as "common practice."
  • Still an honest mistake?
Pritzker plays kingmaker

When Governor Pritzker said he was staying out of the mayor's race, we assumed that meant he'd stay out of all municipal elections.

Fitness to serve

This Thursday, I'm moderating a forum in the 45th ward, featuring several candidates, including embattled incumbent Ald. Jim Gardiner.

The intrigue: In the wake of investigations, lawsuits and apologies, Gardiner's opponents are questioning his "fitness" to serve. And they don't mean his push-up skills.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more