Brown endorses Enyia in mayoral race as candidates court black voters

CHICAGO  — African Americans are expected to make up a large chuck of voters in the Chicago mayoral election —it’s partly why six out of the 14 candidates are African American.

Although she didn’t make the ballot, Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown still hopes to impact the mayoral race. On Thursday, Brown threw her support behind policy wonk Amara Enyia. The 35-years-old, who is backed by Chance the Rapper, is running as an outsider.

Earlier this moth, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners ruled that Brown did not have the required 12,500 valid signatures on her nominating petition.

“There is absolutely no question that our city must break away from the status quo, the status quo of established politicians that have gotten us where we are,” Enyia said.

For Enyia, the Brown endorsement comes with risk. Brown is a party insider whose office is under federal investigation. Enyia brushed off questions about Brown’s troubles.

“You just have to let the process play out,” she said.

A recent poll showed Brown with about 5 percent support, but in a crowded race that’s likely to end up in a runoff, every point counts. Enyia wants Brown’s supporters, but they may find Willie Wilson a better fit.

“I feel like James Brown. I feel good. Like I know I should,” Wilson said.

That same public poll found Wilson leading among crucial African American voters.

“Those foundations been laid because I wanted to do good and I hate to see the community in the way it’s in. The reason why I support churches so much, because when you get sick, or homeless, or lose a loved one, or need food, people traditionally come to the churches,” he said.

WGN asked Neal Sales-Griffin about Brown endorsing Enyia and he sent the following message along with a GIF:

State Rep. La Shawn Ford said he’s a wildcard in the race because South Side voters know him.

“We’ve been ballot for supporting as a delegate for President Obama. We’ve been a delegate for Bernie Sanders,” Ford said. “They know what I stand for. They know where my values are.”

Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, dismissed the endorsement, saying her ties in the black community run deep.

“As a kid who grew up in a low-income family who’s been talking for almost a year now about the inequities in our city that we have to devise a comprehensive plan to uplift the quality of life in all neighborhoods,” Lightfoot said. “It is critically important that black folks must educate themselves about who the candidates truly are, not just the rhetoric, not just the airbrushed gloss,” Lightfoot said.

Toni Preckwinkle’s campaign chose not to weigh in on the Brown endorsement.

Also Thursday, Susana Mendoza picked up support from Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts.

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