Stewart on the Mayoral Election

Long time Chicago political analyst Russ Stewart remarks on the Chicago mayoral election:

To be sure, the mayor postures as a bully, uses coarse language, and has delusions of grandeur, but the reality is that she is on her way to being a one-term mayor. It takes real effort for a Chicago mayor NOT to get re-elected. But Lightfoot has proven herself up to the task. She will follow Jane Byrne (1979-83) and William Dever (1923-27) into the history books.
Congressman Jesus (Chuy) Garcia (D-4) will be Chicago’s next mayor. Garcia is well-positioned to finish first in the Feb.28 primary, and then win the April 4 runoff. Paul Vallas will be the law-and-order candidate, Lightfoot will be lucky to get 25 percent, Willie Wilson has a shot; and Brandon Johnson cannot be discounted.

He goes on to say:

You can’t run for mayor if you can’t get on the ballot. It requires a minimum of 12,500 petition signatures to do so, and at least 20,000 to withstand a challenge. Wilson submitted 60,000 signatures on Nov. 21, the first day to file.

Millionaire Wilson got just over 10 percent in losing 2015 and 2019 mayor bids, is a copious donor to African American churches and got headlines in 2022 for paying for free gasoline in several Chicago neighborhoods.

Vallas came in with about 22,000 signatures, and both Garcia and Lightfoot filed on Nov. 28, the last day. Lightfoot came in with nearly 40,000.

Garcia had volunteers at Nov. 8 polling places, so signatures from actual voting voters are unimpeachable; he came in with 25,000.

“There was no resistance” to signing for Garcia on the Southwest Side and in Hispanic areas, said political consultant Frank Calabrese. “I am told there was a lot of resistance” to signing Lightfoot’s petitions.

In the last mayoral primaries Willie Wilson received a plurality of the black vote but neither he nor Chuy Garcia received enough votes to go on to the run-off. I wouldn’t be surprised if the general election came down to Lightfoot vs. Garcia, Lightfoot vs. Vallas, Lightfoot vs. Wilson or Garcia, Vallas, or Wilson against each other with Lightfoot eliminated in the primaries.

If Mr. Stewart is right, all is proceeding as I have predicted. Garcia will be the city’s first Hispanic mayor while Lightfoot may well be Chicago’s last black mayor. Hispanic and black voting blocs will vie with each other for power. The primary beneficiaries of all of the political infighting will be whites. In case you’re wondering the demographic breakdown of Chicago is white non-Hispanic 33.3%, black 29.2%, Hispanic 28.6%. The black population will continue to decline; the percentage of Hispanics, whites, and Asians will continue to rise.

3 comments… add one
  • bob sykes Link

    Why is the black population of Chicago declining? LA went from white to black to Mexican governance in part because Mexicans would not tolerate blacks in their neighborhoods, and physically drove them out. Whole regions of SoCal were ethnically cleansed of blacks, which was what the gang wars of a generation ago were all about.

    Second question, Where do the blacks go? Long ago, they came north for the factory jobs, and I suppose the urban North was much better than share-cropping in the old South. But now the factories are gone, and are never coming back. So, if you are a black, where is the better life now?

  • The black population of Chicago is declining because of the crime in their neighborhoods. Some are moving to adjacent suburbs (Maywood, Oak Park, etc.) Others are moving out of state. Atlanta is becoming quite a magnet.

  • PD Shaw Link

    The weakness for Garcia is the low voting rate among Hispanics that I think Stewart broke out in another recent column, and I would add whether Puerto Rican Americans are as enthusiastic as Mexican Americans. In this column, Stewart’s prediction is premised on the necessity for Garcia to “make inroads among White Lakefront liberals, who backed Emanuel in 2015.”

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