Mayoral challengers trail Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the upcoming election, but they're not wasting their time in the spotlight as they took on the mayor during their second televised debate Thursday.
Some candidates used to the debate to question the relationship between Emanuel and his campaign donors.
"He's the one who came to town with millions and millions of dollars and said 'I want to be emperor of Chicago," said candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.
Some questioned why the mayor flew on a private jet to Washington D.C. to help donors navigate a meeting with federal regulators who gave him more than $100,000.
Emanuel answered allegations of "pay to play" after the debate saying he has been "determined to meet with CEOs and anybody that will bring jobs to the city of Chicago."
Before the debate began, it was businessman Willie Wilson's comments at the City Club earlier in the day that raised eyebrows after he allegedly called members in the audience "whiteys."
Wilson says the comment was misinterpreted.
"I am for all citizens of the city of Chicago," he said.
The tone of the debate took a turn Wednesday after candidates said debate questions were leaked ahead of time, prompting sponsors to release a list of possible talking points to all candidates for the sake of fairness.
Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s campaign on Wednesday, said their staff had been leaked the questions earlier in the week, but Garcia did not see them. The campaign office said their counsel brought the questions to the sponsors.
The move, however, was criticized by fellow challengers.
“I don’t know if somebody was trying to give us an advantage or a disadvantage, or a setup,” Garcia said. “I’m very proud of my staff that they did the right thing.”
The mayoral challengers hope to take on Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who needs at least 50 percent of the vote in this month’s election to avoid a run-off.
On Wednesday, candidates gathered for the first televised debate, which sources say Emanuel walked out of after he became upset with the number of questions on red light cameras. He did not take post-debate questions.