Why Lori Lightfoot’s re-election endorsements matter
First elected as a political outsider embracing a reformer’s agenda in 2019, Mayor Lori Lightfoot now ties her re-election bid to the established order she once sought to shake up.
Consider three congressional approvals Lightfoot secured on Thursday.
When Lightfoot challenged Cook County Democratic Party boss and board chairman Toni Preckwinkle in 2019, Rep. Bobby Rush took the stage at a rally in Preckwinkle to say Lightfoot voters would have “the blood of the next black man or black woman killed by the police” on their hands if elected.
After Lightfoot’s victory, Rush apologized for his remarks and has since kissed Lightfoot, arguing yesterday that she has the ‘principles and pugnacity’ to get the job done.
As he said Thursday during the endorsement event at the DuSable Black History Museum, “That was then.”
Another endorsement came from a man synonymous with black political power on the West Side: Rep. Danny Davis, who squealed in a close primary challenge this week. Davis edged out progressive challenger Kina Collins with endorsements from President Joe Biden and Lightfoot in his pocket.
Both members of Congress touted Lightfoot’s investments through his Invest South/West initiative as key to garnering their support, a policy Lightfoot will rely on heavily in his message to voters as well as in future speeches. to get more support from elected officials.
If Rush and Davis can teach Lightfoot a thing or two about coming in as outsiders and staying put as consummate insiders, the third endorsement represents the Democratic establishment’s changing of the guard in the local politics.
Rep. Robin Kelly endorsed Lightfoot in 2019 and backed her again on Thursday. Since 2019, Kelly has added a new title to her resume: President of the Illinois Democratic Party, succeeding indicted former President Michael Madigan.
Party insiders elected Kelly to the gig without Lightfoot’s public endorsement, but a year later, with his own re-election looming and facing a new challenge to his budding reign from Governor JB Pritzker, Kelly received his own full-throat bra from Governor JB Pritzker. the mayor on Thursday.
But, two days away from a primary where progressive Democrats to the left of Lightfoot had a banner day — not to mention a narrow victory for Davis and Rush’s preferred successor finishing a distant third — are voters ready to keep the incumbent on the fifth floor of city hall?
Lightfoot acknowledged her new incumbent position in the mayoral race, saying the “challenge” for her as a candidate “pierces through this anger, frustration and fear” that voters are feeling.
His campaign will “remind people of what we have done for them, even in the midst of one of the most difficult times we have known in our lives”, including investments in affordable housing and recovery efforts in case pandemic, she said.
“Because when we do that, I know because I’m in those rooms, those discussions, the light bulb goes off because, frankly, they don’t hear it from the media,” she said.
Lightfoot’s campaign war chest has crossed the $2 million mark, according to illinois sun, which tracks political contributions in the state. Expect Lightfoot’s message to hit your living room TV soon enough.