CHICAGO — It’s two weeks until Election Day in Chicago, but some officials say that some voters are still undecided.
Cristina Pacione-Zayas of the Puerto Rican Agenda of Chicago said voters are having a hard time telling the candidates apart. She said one of her sources told her that 60 percent of voters are still undecided.
“We’ve had a ton of these forums, right? And a lot of participation in the forums. And I almost feel like the more forums they have, the more they start to sound like each other,” Pacione-Zayas said.
The race is fluid but a new poll conducted for the Willie Wilson campaign shows Wilson, Toni Preckwinkle, Bill Daley, Gery Chico and Susan Mendoza in the top five.
However, according to Pacione-Zayas, several leading contenders have issues to overcome.
Chico is a veteran of Chicago politics as former Chicago Public School Board President and chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley. When he visited with Pacione-Zayas’ group recently, members had questions about his long resume.
“People had some concerns about the veracity of what he was claiming in terms of his accomplishments,” Pacione-Zayas said.
Bill Daley, son and brother of former mayors, is leading the pack in fundraising, bringing in more than $6 million — but that’s both good and bad.
“The majority of Daley’s money is coming from outside of the city. What does that say in terms of who he’s going to be beholden to in order to run the city,” Pacione-Zayas said.
Cook County Board President Preckwinkle has a different set of hurdles.
“I think there’s a couple things she has to overcome. People don’t forget about the sugar tax,” Pacione-Zayas said. “She also has a reputation coming from Hyde Park and so some people question her ability to authentically and meaningfully connect with the black community, which is a significant sector of our electorate. The other piece is that she’s been around for quite some time and I think people really are tired of the same old, same old.”
Chico, Preckwinkle and Mendoza have had to explain their connections to Alderman Ed Burke, but ethics questions have dogged Mendoza the most.
“I think the additional burden to Mendoza is her ties to Danny Solis and also her ties to Alderman Moreno. She’s had to do a lot of defense on multiple levels instead of leading with her messages,” Pacione-Zayas said.
WBEZ is out with a story linking Mendoza to a civil lawsuit against a finance company that does business with the state and has contributed to Mendoza’s campaign fund. On Tuesday, reporters had hope to ask her about this at event in Englewood, but that event was cancelled.