CHICAGO — U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush has endorsed Bill Daley in the Chicago mayoral race.
“We must get it right,” Rush said. “He will be a good mayor to all of our communities.”
Rush, a co-founder of the Illinois Black Panther Party and a prominent champion of civil rights, previously ran against Daley’s brother, Richard M. Daley. Rush lost and later backed the former mayor.
Rush said he’s on board with the latest Daley because of the candidate’s focus on crime and economic development.
“No permanent friends. No permanent enemies. Just permanent interest,” Rush said. “Bill Daley is a Daley with an old name, but Bill Daley has new, innovative and creative ideas.”
The announcement was made Friday at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, coinciding with the start of Black History Month.
History hovers over the mayoral contest. Bill Daley’s father, Richard J. Daley, was mayor of Chicago during the tumultuous 1960s, including during the police riot of ’68.
WGN’s Tahman Bradley asked Bill Daley whether he’s proud of his father’s record on civil rights.
“I’m very proud of my father,” Bill Daley said. “The life he lived, what he tried to do, not only in his professional life but in his personal life. He was born 116 years ago, died over 40 years ago. He was a good person who was motivated to try to do good in this city. And I think maybe we ought to let him rest.”
Daley, who polls show is among the frontrunners in the crowded field, has vast experience both in and out of politics. He was an executive at J.P. Morgan Chase, a U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton, and President Barack Obama’s chief of staff.
“He has the background, the experience necessary to put this city together and do the work,” former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones said.
Friday’s news conference was another clear play for African-American voters. But Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, a supporter of mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle, said the Daley name is a drag.
“There’s a very long history of the Daley administration in Chicago that we’re still plagued by,” Johnson said. “Let’s just be very clear: Bill Daley stands for policies that are just as disrupted as the legacy he represents.”
“While black people were losing their homes in the city of Chicago,” Johnson continued, “Daley and his family were making money off of it.”
Preckwinkle on Friday scored endorsements from former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and Time’s Up leader Tina Tchen.