Chicago Mayoral Candidates Sharpen Attacks as Forums Fade Into Rearview Mirror – NBC Chicago

The televised forums featuring all nine Chicago mayoral candidates are now over, and with two weeks left until Election Day, candidates are sharpening their attacks and preparing for the final stretch run.

Incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot is focusing her newest campaign ad on attacking Congressman Chuy García and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, two of the biggest rivals standing in her way as she looks for a second term.

García cast his vote along with his wife Evelyn today, and he took the opportunity to respond to the ad, with Lightfoot having criticized his public safety proposals and other campaign platform planks.

“She’s spent close to a million dollars, attacking me for the past month and a half, think about that.   Why would anyone spend that much money?  Because she’s afraid she won’t make the runoff. So she’s putting up distractions and smokescreens,” he said.

Notably, Lightfoot left former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas out of the new ad, but she did direct fire at Johnson.

“He wants to raise your taxes and he wants to cut your cops, he wants to bring new taxes of almost a billion dollars on Chicagoans,” she said.

Johnson, who also faced those statements during Monday’s NBC 5 forum, pushed back on the comments, saying that they reek of “desperation.”

“All the polls are indicating that we are prepared to get to the runoff,” he said. “So this is a desperate act of the mayor of the city of Chicago, because she knows that Chicago is ready to turn the page and they’re prepared for a better, stronger, safer Chicago.”   

While some polls have indeed had Johnson in the top-two vote getters, which would be required to get into a runoff, Northwestern University’s Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy released a new poll that shows Vallas at 19% and Chuy Garcia at 17%  — virtually tied for first. 

 Lightfoot has 14%, Willie Wilson had a 12 % share and Brandon Johnson was in fifth, polling at 9%.   

The poll was conducted February 5 to 10, with 643 surveyed and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8%.

Wilson, an entrepreneur who has been adamant about increasing spending on police and public safety initiatives, rolled out a new public safety plan at the City Club Tuesday. That plan included provisions to eliminate the CPD’s hiring exam, as well as allowing retirees to rejoin the force and raising the retirement age from 63 to 67.

 “I know there’s some people who say that we should defund police officers, but I think we should increase their pay,” he said.

One other finding in the Northwestern poll could attract attention, as it showed that more than 79% of both Black and Latino voters believe Chicago would be better off if these groups worked together.

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