Former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn endorsed U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García for mayor on Thursday, spurning his former gubernatorial running mate Paul Vallas.
Quinn flirted with a mayoral run this campaign cycle but dropped the bid.
First elected to the Cook County Board of Appeals in 1982, Quinn has run for a series of higher offices over the ensuing years, ultimately succeeding in 2002 when voters chose him as the Democratic lieutenant governor when Rod Blagojevich was first elected governor. Quinn ascended to the state’s chief executive post in 2009 when Blagojevich was indicted by federal prosecutors on corruption charges and impeached and ousted by state legislators.
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In 2010, Quinn won election as governor, narrowly defeating Republican Bill Brady of Bloomington. But Quinn, with Vallas as his running mate, lost four years later to Republican Bruce Rauner.
Although Quinn is well known throughout the city and state, he hasn’t found much political success in recent years, losing a primary bid to succeed Lisa Madigan as Illinois attorney general and failing to gain traction with his efforts to impose term limits on Chicago mayors.
He is well-known throughout the area, however, and García’s campaign hopes the endorsement gives him a boost ahead of the Feb. 28 election, where he and seven others are challenging incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Lightfoot unveiled an endorsement from numerous Black faith leaders, a key demographic for her as she seeks to earn a second term. Lightfoot beamed as she stood with dozens of people in Bronzeville and accepted their endorsement.
Lightfoot’s base of support in the 2019 election was primarily along majority white lakefront wards, but her political base has pivoted to the South and West sides as she seeks re-election.
“She is and has been a friend to the Black community,” New Landmark Baptist Church’s pastor, the Rev. Cy Fields, said.