Chicago mayoral election: Lightfoot challengers could launch campaigns soon, sources say

A new analysis of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's political fundraising has found she’s been spending more money than she’s been collecting.

It may signal trouble for the incumbent, with next winter's mayoral election now barely a year away.

The Chicago Tribune analysis found Mayor Lightfoot still has about a million-and-a-half dollars cash on hand, substantial but far short of what she'll likely need in the next 12 months.

It's one reason State Rep. La Shawn Ford and more than a half-dozen others are publicly weighing whether to launch their own campaigns for mayor.

"There’s not a day that goes by that I don't get emails, phone calls or just people on the street saying, ‘you'd make a great mayor,’" said Ford.

Sources tell FOX 32 News that several challengers to Mayor Lightfoot could launch their campaigns in the next few weeks.

In addition to West Side State Rep. Ford, among those reportedly considering launching campaigns for mayor this year are former US Education Sec. Arne Duncan, Illinois House Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Kam Buckner, Chicago Teachers Union VP Stacy Davis-Gates and businessman Willie Wilson.

In contrast to previous mayors Rahm Emanuel and Richard M. Daley, who kept their political warchests stuffed with cash, Lightfoot told the Tribune that fundraising during the pandemic would have sent the wrong message.

Ford said she still has time to turn her political fortunes around, but needs to change her political style, which he claims is often needlessly combative.

"Because you can't go into a role like mayor fighting the people that you need to work with. Publicly you can't embarrass people. You have to work with them. You need them. You have to swallow your pride and you have to recognize that every aldermen, every state representative, every county commissioner, president of the county board, unions all have a right to express themselves," Ford said.


Coincidentally on Monday, the mayor's political fund – Lightfoot for Chicago – sent a mass email, pleading in part: "Now, we need your help, friend. Our only goal in these next 7 days is to show the strength of Mayor Lightfoot's grassroots support."