Chance the Rapper ended speculation that he might run for mayor by announcing Tuesday that he endorsed attorney and community activist Amara Enyia in the Chicago race.
"I noticed that when I started talking about this that it obviously caused a firestorm in the tweets," Chance said at City Hall. "All the candidates started sweating because Chicago politics is about people knowing what’s possible... Nobody wants to vote for who should be mayor everybody wants to vote for who could be mayor."
Speculation about "Chance for Mayor" began after he tweeted that he planned to make an announcement on the mayoral race at City Hall Tuesday. The announcement came after Chance tweeted "I'm thinking maybe I should," a reference to his song "Somewhere in Paradise," where the rapper sings, "They screaming Chano for mayor, I'm thinking maybe I should."
Enyia announced her campaign before Mayor Rahm Emanuel revealed that he would not seek re-election, giving way to a crowded and growing field of candidates. When asked why he would support Enyia, who was not widely considered to be a frontrunner, Chance said the odds of her victory did not factor into his decision.
"I'd like to say, very narcissistically, if I back you you have a chance absolutely and I want to work with somebody that’s about change, somebody that’s about our community, somebody that’s about equity, somebody that’s about fairness," he said.
He added that he's "got a lot of money - so it'll be scary."
Enyia ran for mayor in 2015 before exiting the race to back then-Ald. Bob Fioretti’s unsuccessful bid. With a doctorate in education policy, she has worked as a public policy advisor in various capacities, recently for lieutenant governor candidate Ra Joy, who fell short in the Democratic primary alongside Chris Kennedy. Enyia, 35, lives in Garfield Park and is the director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. She founded a social lab to educate on economic development, according to her website, and co-authored a book on municipal funding in Chicago.
Enyia called Chance's announcement "not your typical flash in the pan endorsement."
"Today is the beginning of Chicago's next level," she said.
Chance, whose real name is Chancelor Bennett, comes from a family with a political background and has spent millions of dollars of his own money to help Chicago Public Schools and mental health services. He has long been critical of the city's politics, particularly funding for education and the city's response to the 2014 fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.
Chance's father Ken Bennett served as deputy chief of staff and director for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Office of Public Engagement. The elder Bennett worked for former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and President Barack Obama as well.
This time around, Ken Bennett is backing Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for mayor, and was by her side as she announced her campaign last month.
"I think that Amara is the most qualified candidate," Chance said in response to questions on why he didn't join his father in endorsing Preckwinkle. "As far as my dad goes that’s my family and at the end of the day I'm always going to love my dad, I’m always going to rock with my dad but that has nothing to do with what I see for the future of Chicago."
As for whether or not he'd ever considering running himself, Chance decided to put the rumors to rest.
"I probably won’t ever be running for mayor of this city," the 25-year-old said.