Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush doubled down Monday on his controversial comments about Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot.
Rush, who supports Lightfoot’s opponent in the upcoming runoff election Toni Preckwinkle, not only accused Lightfoot over the weekend of being pro-police but warned that more innocent black people would be killed at the hands of police if Lightfoot is elected.
“If any young black male or female is killed by a police officer, under a Lightfoot adminsitration, then the blood would be on those voters’ hands who elected her,” he said Monday.
Rush argued that Lightfoot would nullify the consent decree to reform the Chicago Police Department.
“Lori Lightfoot has made an alliance with the devil,” he said.
Lightfoot called the remarks hate-filled and asked Preckwinkle to denounce them.
“While I’m saddened by what we heard on Saturday, I know that Chicagoans will reject the rhetoric of division,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “I know because I have been talking to people from one of this city to the other, and it’s clear that they want and deserve a better government.”
Preckwinkle said Rush is “a pillar in the civil rights movement in this city and is more than capable of speaking on his beliefs.”
“What I can speak to is that we cannot overlook the concerns of black and brown communities about the fairness of the criminal justice system. Lori has been a part of that system and there are many people that have real fears about how that would impact her ability to work for real reform.” Preckwinkle said in a statement. “If Lori had more experience working with these communities she would know that and respond to those concerns instead of demeaning them. Lori's response to this is the definition of divisive. By not recognizing the legitimacy of their feelings, by trying to silence and remove them, by choosing to condemn rather than engage, Lori marginalizes the most vulnerable.”
With a little over a week left until the runoff election in Chicago, a new poll released Monday showed Lightfoot with a large lead in the race. The Temkin/Harris Poll, conducted in partnership with Crain’s Chicago Business and WTTW News, polled 500 likely voters by phone last week and showed Lightfoot up 53 percent to Preckwinkle’s 17 percent. Twelve percent of respondents were undecided.
Former candidate Amara Enyia declined to endorse either candidate in the race on Monday, criticizing the negative tone of the campaigns.
“There are many issues that are not getting covered because there’s so much negative rhetoric attempting to tear down someone else – that doesn’t do us any favors,” she said.
Preckwinkle has yet to add any TV ads to her campaign. She’s been off the airwaves for at least a week.
“I don’t think any of us should be appealing to - whether it’s racial or sexual orientation - issues that are intended to fire up a certain segment of the election at the expense of others,” Lightfoot said during an appearance with Crain’s Chicago Business’ editorial board Monday.