Willie Wilson's on-again, off-again endorsement of Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia is official—for now | Bleader

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Willie Wilson's on-again, off-again endorsement of Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia is official—for now

Posted By on 03.12.15 at 02:00 PM

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Jesus Garcia accepts the endorsement of Willie Wilson (right) this morning at the Chicago Baptist Institute. At left is Reverend Greg Seal Livingston, who managed Wilsons campaign.
  • Christian K. Lee/ For Sun-Times Media
  • Jesus Garcia accepts the endorsement of Willie Wilson (right) this morning at the Chicago Baptist Institute. At left is Reverend Greg Seal Livingston, who managed Wilson's campaign.
At a south-side church this morning, Willie Wilson formally announced his endorsement of Jesus "Chuy" Garcia for mayor. As of this writing, Wilson has yet to rescind it.

Wilson said at the church this morning that President Obama told him several weeks ago, "I gotta vote for my boy Rahm." Wilson continued: "I gotta say this today: 'Mr. President, I’ve gotta support my boy Chuy.'"

The day before the February 24 election, Wilson told the Sun-Times he'd "wholeheartedly" endorse Garcia if there were a runoff between the county commissioner and Mayor Emanuel. "I don't believe in the mayor's ideas," Wilson said then.

But two days after the vote, Wilson, who got 10.66 percent of the vote, retracted his endorsement, and said he'd consult with his supporters before deciding who he'd support.

Four days later, Wilson told CBS 2 Chicago he'd vote for Garcia, but possibly endorse Emanuel.

Then yesterday, Wilson told the Sun-Times he'd endorse Garcia after all. He said his supporters opposed the mayor's reelection because of his closing of 50 schools and his unwillingness to get rid of all of the red-light cameras. Wilson added that his supporters believed city contracts and jobs were unfairly awarded.

It's a politician's prerogative to change his mind, of course, and Wilson hasn't been the only endorsement waffler.

"If there is a runoff, I will support whoever the challenger is," alderman Bob Fioretti declared the day before the February election, according to the Sun-Times. "Chicago is headed in the wrong direction under this mayor."

The alderman retracted that pledge Tuesday, saying he was currently undecided. He then took exception to a reporter's suggestion that he was being like Wilson. "Willie's gonna vote for one and he's gonna endorse the other," Fioretti said, whereas he himself was simply considering "the future of the city." The alderman won 7.39 percent of the vote.

The other first-round candidate, Bill "Dock" Walls, did not pledge on the eve of the election to support Garcia in a runoff. But Walls told me this morning he'd had lunch with Garcia since then, and hadn't met with the mayor. He said he'd make an endorsement soon. Walls received only 2.77 percent of the vote, but in 16 predominantly African-American wards he got between 4.59 percent and 6.99 percent. He noted that Wilson, a multimillion-dollar businessman who put $2 million of his own money into his campaign, "spent $40, $50 a vote," whereas his votes had cost only about $3 each.

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