CHICAGO — Businessman and mayoral candidate Willie Wilson announced Tuesday he would conduct a third gas giveaway on Saturday.
During the announcement, Wilson noted the ongoing elevated gas prices, increasing rents, and increasing cost of groceries as reasons for holding another gas giveaway. He added this third event will be similar to the previous one in that $1 million worth of gas will be pumped out at approximately 50 gas stations throughout Cook County.
The exact times, locations, and other logistical details are yet to be announced but will be posted here when available.
Wilson’s first giveaway came on March 17 when he provided $200,000 in free gas on a first-come-first-serve basis. The event ran for about three hours and caused major traffic jams around the 10 participating gas stations.
The candidate’s second giveaway came one week later on March 24 when Wilson upped the giveaway amount to $1 million and expanded the event to include 50 gas stations.
Following the traffic issues of the first giveaway, the Chicago Police Department and Office of Emergency Management were involved and traffic issues seemed to be lessened.
Just about two weeks later, Wilson announced he was running for Mayor of Chicago, his third attempt to be elected to the position. During his announcement, he insisted his two gas giveaways were not attempts to buy votes. He was asked again during the announcement of his third giveaway and maintained it has nothing to do with his political ambitions.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has yet to announce her reelection bid, but it’s expected she’ll seek a second term and will likely campaign on a record of guiding the city through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Southwest Side 15th Ward Ald. Ray Lopez kicked off his run last week. One of the mayor’s biggest critics, Lopez cited public safety as his number one priority.
Congressman Mike Quigley is also considering a run, as is former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas.
Police union president John Catanzara, facing dismissal from CPD, suddenly announced his retirement last fall and plans to challenge Lightfoot. The two have clashed repeatedly over issues including the city’s vaccine mandate.
The first to declare his candidacy was Frederick Collins, a 30-year police department veteran. Collins, who launched his bid in January, is running on the theme “safe neighborhoods matter.”
The mayoral primary is scheduled for Feb. 28, 2023.