As Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot prepare for their historic showdown in the April mayoral run-off, both candidates are offering some hints on what their strategy will be heading into that critical electoral battle.
Both candidates, who will be competing to become Chicago’s first African-American woman to ascend to the office of mayor, sat down with NBC 5 this week to offer insights on their campaigns, and to offer residents a glimpse into their personal lives as well.
For Preckwinkle, the Cook County Board President plans to run on her experience in office, and she is already hammering away at Lightfoot’s lack of time in political office.
“My opponent has never held elected office, and has never been elected to anything,” she said. “She’s been appointed to a number of positions, but she’s never been elected.”
Preckwinkle also defended her progressive credentials, citing her work on healthcare reform and on criminal justice issues.
“I am a strong supporter of good government,” she said. “I worked with Joe Berrios when he was assessor, and now I’m working with Fritz Kaegi as well.”
Lightfoot blasted Preckwinkle’s connections with several controversial figures, including Berrios and embattled Alderman Ed Burke.
“I’m not a person who aspired to climb the ladder of the Cook County Democratic Party, and to cozy up to the likes of Joe Berrios and Ed Burke,” she said.
The candidates also highlighted their differences of opinion on several key issues, including the job status of Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. Preckwinkle has said she would replace the city’s top cop, while Lightfoot has said she would keep him in place at least through the summer months.
Lightfoot and Preckwinkle also shared stories from their personal lives, as Lightfoot discussed her time as a college student in Michigan, where she worked as a cook for the football team.
“They eat more food than any people I’ve ever seen in my life,” she said. “It was fun. It was a fun job.”
Preckwinkle also revealed that the story behind her first name, saying that ‘Toni’ isn’t short for anything.
“My mother had a nickname she didn’t like, so she gave all her children shorter names that wouldn’t lend themselves to nicknames,” she said.