Chicago mayoral candidates gear up for heated contest, file paperwork

CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - Twenty-one candidates have filed to run for mayor of Chicago, including 15 who submitted nominating petitions Monday, just ahead of the 5 p.m. deadline.

The last-minute filers included a few familiar names.

Susana Mendoza made a show of Wheeling in her nominating petitions as the 5 p.m. filing deadline approached. However, although she's widely considered a frontrunner in the race for mayor, the Illinois State Comptroller submitted far fewer voter signatures than what some of her rivals claimed they had.

“But I think it's pretty impressive that we got about 25,000 in a three-week span,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza and everyone else in the officially non-partisan mayoral election, in which the vast majority of candidates are Democrats, need 12,500 valid voter signatures.

Opponents hoping to knock some candidates off the ballot must file challenges by next Monday, with public hearings scheduled to begin December 10th. It's a bizarre, legalistic staple of local mayoral campaigns.

“Well, we're gonna take a look at others, as they'll take a look at us,” said Lori Lightfoot.

Bill Daley, whose family includes two previous mayors, called for reform as he filed his petitions to run. He said Chicago should make it easier for candidates to secure a ballot position.

That may happen one day. For now, candidate Amara Enyia, who's backed by Chance the Rapper and Kanye West, says she's ready if someone tries to kick her off the ballot.

“We know that there will be scrutiny. We knew going through the process....to make sure that we had all the necessary signatures,” she said.

Beyond the crowded race for mayor, there was a surprise in the contest for City Council seats. About 120 fewer candidates filed to run for alderman, compared to four years ago. Why? We'll be trying to figure that out in the days ahead.

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