Tribune endorses Bill Daley for mayor as candidate cites plan to pay debt

Though it took Bill Daley by surprise, the Chicago Tribune's Editorial Board announced Wednesday the newspaper is supporting him for mayor.

The Tribune editorial endorsing Daley praised him as the only one among 14 candidates for mayor supporting an amendment to the state constitution, not to reduce existing public employee pensions, but to lower the crushing cost to taxpayers of future benefits.

“Long term, how do we convince younger people that this is the place they should live, raise their kids and invest,” said Daley. 

Reducing Chicago’s multi-billion dollar pension burden on taxpayers, Daley said, is necessary if the city's to realize his goal of raising the local population back to three million people.

Rival Susana Mendoza noted Daley chaired former Gov. Bruce Rauner's transition team four years ago and was, at times, an informal advisor to his brother, former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

“Why would we possibly put the person who had the worst advice for Mayor Daley and the person who created the blueprint of Rauner's wreckage in charge of our city?” said Mendoza.

Daley also reported a million-dollar contribution from Ken Griffin, the hedge fund founder who is the richest man in Illinois. That prompted the president of the teachers union, which is backing Toni Preckwinkle for mayor, to denounce Daley in familiar terms. 

"Like Rahm, he'll be the bankers' candidate, another mayor one percent, and future budget cuts and mass layoffs are a certainty,” said Karen Lewis.

The Tribune's endorsement of Daley follows the Sun-Times Editorial Board's backing of Lori Lightfoot for mayor. That may have more impact in a 14-candidate field than in other recent elections.