We are three weeks away from city elections and the noise only gets louder from here. By the time we reach Feb. 28, the candidates for mayor will have called each other everything but their names and accused one another of creating every problem that plagues humanity, from climate change and violent crime to Netflix’s unpopular password-sharing policies.
Fortunately, the Chicago Tribune’s City Hall team is here to sort out what you need know and separate the reality from the rhetoric.
On Sunday, we detailed the nine candidates for mayor’s positions on the city’s finances and how those stances might affect whether your taxes go up over the next four years, despite what some candidates promise.
Last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost a close ally in her bid for reelection when Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd, endorsed challenger Brandon Johnson, who is endorsed by several liberal groups and unions, including the Chicago Teachers Union. Our story focused on what Dowell’s endorsement means for the race at large: In the race for mayor, twice as many aldermen openly support a candidate other than Lightfoot than those who back her campaign, a figure that illustrates the problems she has had building a governing coalition and maintaining strong relationships.
It’s also a window into the behind-the-scenes nature of local politics, which fellow city politics reporter Ben Joravsky of the Chicago Reader frequently describes as being like high school. To wit: Lightfoot was unendorsed by Ald. Derrick Curtis, 18th, a former supporter on the City Council, because he got angry at her for not calling him when he shot himself in the hand. Curtis is a concealed carry license instructor.
This week is going to be a lot to digest, but it’ll be another opportunity for us all to educate ourselves on the candidates. Lightfoot will face challengers three nights this week in forums that will either be televised or livestreamed. We will sacrifice our Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights to make sure you get what you need to know. But if you want to watch them for yourselves, see the information below.
All I ask is you keep reading and reach out with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to my City Hall colleagues Alice Yin and A.D. Quig. And when you know who you want to lead the city, vote!
Candidates for mayor will be attending several forums and debates this week:
- On Tuesday, candidates will participate in a live forum at 7 p.m. on WTTW-Ch. 11 moderated by “Chicago Tonight” co-anchor Paris Schutz. The one-hour forum will stream live on wttw.com, the PBS/WTTW Video app, Facebook and YouTube, and will be broadcast on WTTW at 10 p.m.
- On Wednesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and four challengers will participate in the first of two live, two-hour forums hosted by WBEZ, the Chicago Sun-Times and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. This event will be held at 11 a.m. at the University of Illinois at Chicago Student Center East, Cardinal Room, 750 S. Halsted St., Chicago. The forum, which will air on WBEZ-91.5 FM and be hosted by WBEZ’s “Reset” host Sasha-Ann Simons, will include Lightfoot and mayoral challenger U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, state Rep. Kam Buckner and Ald. Sophia King, 4th. Those who want to attend can register here.
- On Thursday, the second forum by WBEZ, the Chicago Sun-Times and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics will be held. This event will be held at 11 a.m. at the University of Chicago’s Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E 59th St., Chicago. The forum, which will air on WBEZ-91.5 FM and be hosted by WBEZ’s “Reset” host Sasha-Ann Simons, will feature mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson, Willie Wilson, Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th, and community activist Ja’Mal Green. Those who want to attend can register here.
- Also on Thursday, candidates will participate in a debate at 6 p.m. that will be aired on FOX-Ch. 32 and on FOX32Chicago.com
Here’s what we’re watching and what you need to know. If you were forwarded this email, click here to get Daywatch and the Afternoon Briefing delivered to your inbox every weekday. Sign up to get our alerts on all your devices.
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U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García on Monday pitched an emergency property tax relief program funded through taxpayer grants, while Chicago mayoral opponent Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson released a safety plan that he said would address the root causes of violence.
To inform voters and to help the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board make endorsements, the board posed a series of questions to the candidates running for aldermanic seats.
Stories from the newsroom:
Though the city has made real strides to shore up its finances under Lightfoot, its fiscal health remains precarious.
Early voting is underway. Here’s a look at the nine candidates, one of whom will be running Chicago come spring.
Use our map and searchable listings to find where to vote in Chicago before the election.