Mayor Lori Lightfoot has argued that she has an obligation to voters to “define and challenge” her opponents. That doesn’t mean she’s dragging the mayoral campaign through the mud.

Whatever you call it, the strategy began this week when Lightfoot took to the airwaves with a loud but somewhat humorous commercial of U.S. Representative Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill. tied to a pair of entrenched political powerhouses. : Cryptocurrency billionaire Samuel Bankman-Fried and former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The 30-second spot opens with Garcia’s head encased in a cartoonish suit standing on a podium, waving both hands in the air, as a narrator asks, “What do we really want about Chuy Garcia?” Do you know?”

Bankman-Fried’s head, attached to a suit, enter with a sign around his neck that reads, “Indictment”. A drop-down sign reads, “$200,000 from Sam Bankman-Fried.”

Madigan’s head is on a suit with a similar “Indicated” sign around his neck, then appears on the other side of the podium as the Garcia figure smiles, waves its arms and raises its exaggerated eyebrows in glee.

“Chuy secretly talked with this crypto crook who stole his clients’ life savings, then spent a fortune to re-elect Garcia. Chuy cut deals to help himself since Mike Madigan, even as the disgraced speaker faced a federal corruption investigation. And Chuy took money from a red-light camera company just hours before the deciding vote, which made the company millions,” says the narrator.

“Crypto crooks, entrenched polls and pay-to-play profiteers. The more you know, the worse it gets.

Bankman-Fried is the wunderkind co-founder of FTX who spent $151,420 on direct mail pieces that introduced Garcia to voters in his newly redrawn congressional district.

At the time, Garcia was running unopposed in the Democratic primary in a safe district where his little-known Republican opponent was neither raising nor spending money. Garcia is also a member of the US House Financial Services Committee, which regulates parts of the digital asset industry that includes cryptocurrency.

But Lightfoot’s strategy of turning negative so quickly is also raising eyebrows.

Veteran political strategist Delmarie Cobb called it a “desperate” move.

“This is the time you need to talk about yourself – not your opponent. You need to make the case for why you deserve a second term and to make it last as long as possible. Especially. Now, is when people are starting to pay attention,” Cobb said.

“If I’m going to pay for a commercial, I’m going to talk about me and only me until it gets to the point where I’m desperate. She did that when she first ran He didn’t. He took advantage of the controversy surrounding [Ed] Burke and Tony Preckwinkle and Madigan. … She guessed, ‘Bring into the light’ and, ‘I’m going to be a reformer. It will not be business as usual.’ But it is clear.

Stephen Caliendo, a professor of political science at North Central College, said that Lightfoot’s strategy against Garcia out of the gate told him that his own internal polling showed that Garcia “needs to be negative that he has the wherewithal to win.” Have a good chance.” ,

“I don’t know if I would call it desperation. But it is a recognition that she poses a significant threat and simply playing on her record and what she hopes to do in a second term will not be enough,” Caliendo he said.

Caliendo said the Lightfoot ad is “effective” because it uses “humor and puppetry” to question Garcia’s relationship with Madigan and Bankman-Fried. But it is also risky.

Caliendo said that if Garcia is Lightfoot’s only target — or if she runs out of money before she can attack her other opponents — she could clear the way for one of her formidable challengers, such as Paul Vallas, the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools. takes the risk of doing.

Vallas hit the airwaves on Wednesday with a six-figure purchase of his own, hitting on the issue of violent crime.

“Crime is out of control and combative leadership is failing us,” Vallas says, standing in front of City Hall, where he presented former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s budget and revenue reports before being transferred to CPS. Worked as a director for many years. ,

The ad then cuts to Vallas walking through a parking lot by two plainclothes African American police officers.

Vallas called for “holding the department’s leadership accountable, putting more police on our streets and public transportation, opening schools after hours to ensure that young Chicagoans have safe alternatives to gangs and violence.”

Not to be defeated, mayoral challenger Brandon Johnson launched a “seven-figure” ad campaign apparently designed to prop up Chicago voters.

“Brandon Johnson has a plan to make Chicago safer, grow Chicago businesses, and create jobs. Brandon’s plan will make Chicago’s schools better for all of our children. Brandon Johnson for mayor is better for Chicago,” Narrator it is said.

The Garcia campaign said it is “no surprise” that Lightfoot is “resorting to more lies and desperate attacks” to avoid answering questions about his own relationship.

“Lowry declared ‘the sky is the limit’ and cut the ribbon for Sam Bankman-Fried’s US headquarters in Chicago as he tied his fraudulent company to anti-poverty funding. And the red light Lowry did for these fines raised traffic fines for Chicagoans in order to fix his budget, despite campaigning against it,” the Garcia campaign statement said.

“Lori knows that Chuy has relentlessly fought corruption. This is why he begged for his support in 2019. She can lie all she wants to try and turn her losing campaign around, but Chicagoans will hold her accountable for failing to keep them safe as mayor.



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