Trail Mix: "Chuy" García off to rough start, Pritzker plays kingmaker
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.
- Then the revelations that García's name was referenced in the Michael Madigan corruption indictment.
- Now he's in hot water over TV ads featuring real uniformed Chicago cops, which is a no-no.
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.
- Not true: Late last week, the governor went out of his way to endorse aldermanic candidates.
- Feels like Pritzker wants to be more than the state boss — he wants to be THE boss.
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.
- Still Gardiner is going full steam ahead on re-election plans.
- The Thursday forum at the Copernicus Center promises to be … lively.
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