Just days before Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is slated to be on the ballot for a second term, a new campaign ad surfaced Friday showing her announcing a run for Chicago mayor, but her team insisted the ad was only made in preparation for a potential run.
“I'm Susana Mendoza and I'm running for mayor of Chicago," Mendoza says in the seconds-long clip obtained by NBC 5, adding, "and I ask you to join me on this journey together."
The ad, which Mendoza claimed was stolen from her campaign, surfaced four days before she is slated to be on the ballot in the midterm elections, running against Republican Darlene Senger for a second term as Illinois comptroller.
Mendoza's campaign said the ad was simply made in preparation for a possible run, as she is still considering her options.
“I am focused on the Nov. 6 election because too much is at stake for the people of Illinois," Mendoza said in a statement. "I’m considering a run for another office and have taken steps to prepare for that should I choose to move forward but I have not made any formal decisions.”
In recent weeks, she has neither confirmed nor denied her intentions, skirting the issue even when asked repeatedly about her future plans.
“We can talk about the mayor’s race after this election is over but for now I’m fully focused on making sure I get re-elected and our whole ticket across the state, Democrats from top to bottom,” she said earlier Friday. “If I have something to report I’ll make sure you guys know about it.”
Mendoza has long been rumored to be considering a run for mayor after Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced in September he would not seek re-election to a third term.
Fueling speculation, her latest television ads in the race for comptroller have prominently featured Chicago - including one in which she is wearing a soccer shirt with the four Chicago stars on it - despite the fact that she's running statewide.
Speculation on Mendoza's potential mayoral campaign also increased after Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia and Rep. Luis Gutierrez bowed out, leaving an opening for a strong Latino candidate. Others have circulated nominating petitions for Mendoza for the race for mayor - further preparations should she join a crowded field of 18 candidates thus far.
Among them are two other candidates who are also on the ballot Tuesday - Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and state Rep. La Shawn Ford, both running for re-election to those same positions.
Mendoza's opponent, Darlene Senger, and the Illinois Republican Party both called for Mendoza to remove herself from the race for comptroller.
A spokesperson for Bill Daley's mayoral campaign also said Mendoza has been "lying to the people of Chicago."
"She said she wasn’t thinking about it, but it turns out she is not telling the truth," Peter Cunningham said in a statement. "This is why people don’t trust politicians.”
In 2010, when Mendoza was running for city clerk, the state representative used her opponent's double-filing against her.
"I filed for one office I'm really passionate about and that's city clerk," Mendoza said at the time, referring to Ald. Sandi Jackson filing for both re-election as alderman and for city clerk.
"This is Chicago politics as usual," mayoral candidate Garry McCarthy said in a statement. "Susana Mendoza is just another politician who is looking to enhance her own profile and power while short-changing the voters. This was the same Susana Mendoza who in 2010 criticized Sandi Jackson for simultaneously running for 2 offices. Chicago voters should be outraged."