As Chicago mayoral candidates Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle move forward with their run-off campaigns, the two combatants are taking different paths toward that April 2 showdown.
Both candidates have released new ads this week that could provide a hint of the direction their campaigns will take in the coming weeks.
Preckwinkle’s ad goes right after Lightfoot’s record as an attorney, calling her a “wealthy corporate lawyer” and criticizing the clients that she’s worked with, including “Republican politicians.”
The ad also criticizes her appointment to former Mayor Richard J. Daley’s administration and paints her as a well-connected candidate rather than a political outsider.
Lightfoot’s ad took on a different tenor, as she focused on her desire to change the way city government works.
“I know, on a deeply personal level, that we need change,” she says in the ad. “This election is about demanding an independent, accountable City Hall that serves the people, not the political machine.”
Lightfoot criticized the negative tone of the Preckwinkle ad, saying that her choice to deliver a “positive message” was deliberate.
“On a daily basis we’re getting a deluge of divisiveness, racism, (and) all kinds of things that are intended to separate people,” she said. “We don’t want to hear that in Chicago. This is their stock and trade because they are entrenched in the old political machine.”
A Preckwinkle spokesperson defended the ads, saying that Lightfoot has “relentlessly” attacked her opponent throughout the mayoral campaign.
“Corporate attorney Lori Lightfoot has relentlessly attacked Toni Preckwinkle this campaign,” a campaign spokesperson said of the ad. “If she thinks our ad about her record is a negative one, it’s because it tells the truth about her unfortunate record of defending Wall Street banks and representing Republican politicians.”
Lightfoot used the ads as an opportunity to draw a distinction between herself and her opponent as the April 2 election nears.
“Yes, we’re both black women but that’s where the comparisons begin and end,” she said. “We have very different ways about ourselves. We have different personalities. We have different sensibilities about how leaders should engage with members of the public and really bring people in.”