CHICAGO – The upcoming Chicago mayoral race is next week, and the polls show the race close. Both candidates are desperately looking for voters to take them over the top as Election Day nears. Apparently the Democrats think Republicans matter. Both contacted Chicago GOP chairman Chris Cleveland seeking endorsements.
The Lightfoot feelers came in shortly after the primary. The inquiry was indirect, through attorneys. The pitch was that she was an outsider, and against the Machine. The campaign also approached some Republican committeemen.
"My reaction was, hello? Have you read the Lightfoot website?" said Cleveland. "It's a laundry list of left-wing ideas. Give the teacher's union more power through an elected school board. No mention of school choice. Fix violence by targeting guns. No mention of supporting the police. More public housing. Support business through more minority set-asides, government job training, and $15/hour minimum wage, with no mention of excessive taxation, regulation, or corruption. Stop cooperation with ICE on immigration. Legalize cannabis."
"And across all of it, create more programs and spend more money."
"Endorsement? No, I don't think so," Cleveland said.
The Preckwinkle inquiry was a bit more ham-handed, the Chicago GOP chairman said.
"I received a call this morning from what sounded like a junior staffer," said Cleveland. "He just asked straight out — would the Chicago GOP endorse Preckwinkle? I said, um, there's a bit more to the endorsement process than just a phone call. The staffer sounded offended — 'She's against tax increases!' he said. No, she's not, I said, and don't you think it's unlikely that the Republicans would endorse the head of the Cook County Democratic Party?
"'Well, these are strange times,' he said before he hung up," Cleveland said.
"Yes .. Yes, they are," he concluded.