Lightfoot subject of homophobic flyers as early voting begins in Chicago

CHICAGO — Chicago mayoral candidates Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle denounced homophobic flyers featuring Lightfoot that surfaced on the city's South Side over the weekend, as early voting started at all 51 locations across the city Monday.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the anti-gay flyers had a photo of Lightfoot and her wife with their arms around each other. The flyers said, "The Feminist and Gay Movement Have Come Full Circle!" The flyers also said Lightfoot was "pro law enforcement" and said, "All contracts, jobs, and employment newly assigned exclusively to gay people!”

“Any attempts by anyone to propagate hate, we have to stand together as a city and denounce it unequivocally because hate can have no place in our city,” Lightfoot said.

Preckwinkle called the flyers “disgraceful” and said they have nothing to do with the campaign.

At City Hall Monday, 10 labor unions endorsed mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot. For several days now, she has been rolling out endorsements trying to show strength.

“I am deeply honored that they put their support with me because we do need change and we need change that opens up doors of opportunity to people all over the city,” she said.

Also Monday, Lightfoot’s opponent Toni Preckwinkle met with animal rights advocates. While that was going on, Preckwinkle scored the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, and she said stay tuned for more big announcements.

“I think we’ll have some endorsements tomorrow that will be of important and it’s an ongoing situation,” Preckwinkle said.

Lightfoot also got the backing of Congressman Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. Garcia's endorsement could boost Lightfoot's support among Latinos on the Southwest Side. Garcia ran for mayor in 2015, forcing Mayor Rahm Emanuel into a runoff.

“I’m mindful of the fact I’m here today because of the work 'Chuy' Garcia did and ignited this incredible spark for change across our city," Lightfoot said.

Garcia said Lightfoot has the heart and moral compass to guide the city and usher in a new era.

Lightfoot also received the support of former mayoral candidate Jerry Joyce.

Toni Preckwinkle celebrated St. Patrick's Day, and her birthday, at the northwest side parade. Upon hearing Garcia's endorsement of Lightfoot, Preckwinkle said she has the support of several other Latino leaders, and her campaign will announce more endorsements this week. Preckwinkle has the support of two major unions— SEIU and CTU. Those unions endorsed Garcia for mayor four years ago.

Preckwinkle touted her experience running America’s second largest county: "Improving public schools, access to public health, making the tough decisions.  When it comes to experience, I’m the one in the rescue who has it.”

Preckwinkle and Lightfoot will face off Monday evening at a forum at Chicago State University.

On Monday, Chicagoans started voting for a new mayor, treasurer and aldermen in 15 wards. The Chair of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners described it as small ballot, big impact.

Higher voter turnout is expected this time, compared to the February election, especially with more younger voters stepping up and wanting to have a say in the mayor's race.

About 42,600 voters requested mail-in ballots, and nearly 20,000 of them are young voters, ages 25 to 44.

Early voting sites are open every day until April 2. Residents can register and cast a ballot. To find the voting location nearest you, use the map above. Election Day in Chicago is April 2.

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