Lightfoot and Preckwinkle face off on police, schools as campaigns enter final week

CHICAGO — With one week to go until the Chicago mayoral election, Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle clashed yet again over police reform, fixing Chicago schools, and city finances during another debate Tuesday.

The latest poll shows Lightfoot ahead of Preckwinkle by 35 points, but neither candidate is letting up.

Controversial statements said by Preckwinkle supporter Congressman Bobby Rush came up yet again during Tuesday's debate. At a rally, Rush said Lightfoot voters would have the blood of the next young black man or women killed by police on their hands.

Lightfoot calls the comments divisive and awful. While calling the comments "not words I would use," Preckwinkle continues to say Rush has the right to his own opinion.

"I might have put it differently but the rhetoric is not the point. The point is the substance of what he has to say and that’s about police misconduct and how black and brown people get treated in our criminal justice system," Preckwinkle said.

The candidates also weighed in after charges filed against Jussie Smollett were abruptly dropped by prosecutors Tuesday.

Lightfoot stated she has 100 percent confidence in State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, but said she hopes the actor did not get special treatment, especially considering the amount of police resources that were used.

"I would urge the State’s Attorney’s Office to give a fulsome discussion as to why they suddenly dropped these charges," Lightfoot said.

Preckwinkle didn’t offer much in the way of comment regarding Foxx, who is her former chief of staff, but said they should report why they decided to drop the charges after bringing the indictment.

"I’m not a lawyer and I’m not the State’s Attorney. So I look forward to the explanation from the State’s Attorney about why this decision was made," Preckwinkle said.

Although she is trailing in the polls, Preckwinkle said she wants to finish strong.

"We’re continuing to do the good work that we need to do to be elected on April 2," Preckwinkle said.

Both candidates will participate in the third-straight televised debate on Wednesday.

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