Monday, Nov. 28, is the deadline to file petitions and submit signatures to become a candidate for mayor of Chicago. The general election will be held on Feb. 28, 2023, with a runoff election to take place on April 4 if no candidate gets 50% of the vote.
That’s a likely occurrence since there are already a dozen candidates officially in the race with at least five candidates who will seriously compete for the prize.
At the top of the list is incumbent mayor Lori Lightfoot, whose prickly demeanor is getting pricklier by the day given that her opponents are coming at her from all sides on the issue of crime. Lightfoot recently yanked the credentials of Daily Mail contributor William Kelly after a scuffle ensued between Kelly and Lightfoot’s security. Kelly had been particularly severe in his criticism of the city’s sky-high murder rate.
But several of the leading candidates are going after Lightfoot where she is most weak: on public safety issues.
Roderick Sawyer, the son of former Chicago mayor Eugene Sawyer, is running on an unabashed public safety platform.
“We have a public safety crisis that I won’t claim is entirely the fault of our current mayor, though she certainly hasn’t helped,” Sawyer said. “We need to address public safety and crime from a wide variety of angles. We have a level of crime anxiety that affects everyone, even those who don’t live in our most crime-affected areas.”
Frederick Collins, a 29-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, told Fox that he believes Chicago needs “a leader who will not only listen to its citizens and their needs, but take charge of the immediate issues plaguing our city and get real results.”
If elected, Collins said one of his first priorities in office would be to “take the handcuffs off the police and allow them to do their jobs effectively and get rid of the so-called no-chase policy.” Additionally, Collins said he would “deploy stop and frisk, considering police have body camera technology which would allow greater transparency into justifying why the individual(s) were stopped for reasonable cause.”
Asked about Lightfoot’s leadership of the city and whether he believes she has been an effective leader, Collins said, “No! And here’s why. When I speak to potential voters on their doorsteps or at a local grocery store, I ask them what they can point to that made their lives better in this city now than four or five or years ago. They can’t name one, and this is no lie.”
“The citizens of this great city are sick and tired of this unprecedented crime wave, which has now touched neighborhoods like nothing before,” Collins stated.
State Rep. Kambium Buckner, a Democrat who represents the 26th District, coined the phrase of the campaign, calling Lightfoot’s tenure of mayor a “Pandemic of Violence.”
Asked about the most pertinent problems facing Chicago, Buckner said his “4-Star Plan,” detailed on his website, will work toward “a safer and more just Chicago, improved education for all, economic opportunity and recovery, and stabilizing Chicago’s finances.”
“Chicagoans need both increased public safety and increased public security,” Buckner said. “Public security is about making sure our law enforcement officers have what they need to protect communities from crime, and public safety is about making sure communities have the resources they need: a quality education, affordable housing, healthcare, and good paying jobs.”
Buckner, a former intern for Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, said Lightfoot “has not delivered on her promises” after she “promised us a safer Chicago and greater investment in the root causes of violence.”
The toughest opponent for Lightfoot could be U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who forced former mayor Rahm Emanuel into a run-off in 2015. Garcia was backed by the teachers’ union back then, but the union is now backing Cook County Commissioner and teachers’ union organizer Brandon Johnson. But Garcia just got elected to his third term in Congress and has his own machine now. It will be interesting to see how he fares in the 2023 contest.