Early voting is getting underway in the Chicago mayoral run-off on Friday, but the TV ad buy war is taking an interesting turn as voters prepare to cast ballots.
NBC 5 has learned that candidate Lori Lightfoot has outspent rival contender Toni Preckwinkle three-to-one over the last week in TV ad buys. Strategists who spoke to the station suggest that this could mean that the Cook County Board president is saving her campaign cash for a final push before the April 2 election, or she could be having difficulty in raising funds for the stretch run against Lightfoot.
Preckwinkle has significantly scaled back her spending from where it was heading into the Feb. 26 election. A source tells NBC 5 that Lightfoot has spent $360,000 this week on television ads, while Preckwinkle has spent just $135,000 from her war chest.
When asked for comment, a Preckwinkle campaign spokesman dismissed concerns about the campaign’s finances.
“We’re right where we want to be and executing our game plan,” the spokesman said. “We have a lot of energy and momentum, a lot of folks volunteering and knocking on doors.”
Preckwinkle also ratcheted up her criticism of a donation received by Lightfoot from Super PAC “Change Chicago.” The donation of $40,000 is coming under scrutiny from the Preckwinkle camp because Super PAC’s do not have to reveal their donors.
“I think it’s disturbing that somebody who would describe themselves as ‘progressive’ would take dark money,” Preckwinkle said.
Meanwhile, Lightfoot has continued to rack up endorsements, as she was endorsed by the Laborers Inernational of North America on Thursday.
“If you look at my campaign, and then at all the other campaigns, including President Preckwinkle, I’m the only one who’s had a robust small donor program,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot has also gotten several other big endorsements in recent weeks, including from former rivals Dr. Willie Wilson, Paul Vallas, and Gery Chico.