In spite of the current rumors and speculation concerning the alleged dismissal of Black staff and volunteers that surround the Jesus “Chuy” Garcia campaign infrastructure and leadership, members of the Garcia campaign are confident of a victory on April 7. This confidence is buoyed by the recent polling data that shows Garcia and Mayor Rahm Emanuel running neck and neck.
The Garcia campaign recently announced that Black veteran publicist and strategist Stephanie Gadlin joined the leadership team on March 2 as campaign director. Gadlin defines her assignment as “being responsible for leading Chuy’s campaign team in the development of a comprehensive strategy” – a strategy that positions Chuy for an electoral victory. She is accompanied in this venture by Andrew Sharp, campaign manager, who is White, and Manny Perez, chief of staff, who is Hispanic. Campaign co-chairs are Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU); David Orr, Cook County clerk; and Marty Castro, community activist. These co-chairs represent the three multi-racial and multi-ethnic community coalition (Black, White and Hispanic respectively) that is presumed to be able to increase turnout and elect Chuy as the first Mexican-American mayor of the City of Chicago.
In a recent interview, Gadlin emphasized the multi-generational Black/Brown coalition of the campaign as reflected in the staff, volunteers and supporters. According to Gadlin, the prominent African Americans supporting Garcia include former Cook County Commissioner Bobbie Steele; Prexy Nesbit, professor and activist; Jonathan Jackson, national spokesperson of Rainbow Push; Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.; Tara Stamps, 37th ward aldermanic runoff candidate and daughter of celebrated activist Marian Stamps; and Congressman Danny K. Davis (7th District). The campaign promises to unveil a more complete list of supporters within a week.
This list of Black supporters led by Gadlin is being stated so prominently because of Garcia’s need to multiply his Black support to significantly increase his chance of winning the election. The campaign will rely heavily on the vast experience and knowledge of Gadlin who is on loan to the campaign from the CTU where she serves as a media strategist. One would question what her value amounts to as an in-kind donation goes. Whose paying who for Gadlin? Chuy’s campaign or CTU? She is credited by President Karen Lewis as one of CTU’s major architects of the media messages that contributed to the rapid decline in Rahm Emanuel’s approval ratings.
Gadlin’s credits include service in the administration of two Illinois Democratic governors. This award winning journalist has worked in the Black press for many of the Black newspapers and other publications, served as a producer for WVON’s Cliff Kelley, and worked for the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and the AP wire services. She is perhaps best known for her many positions within Rainbow Push, where she worked on Rev. Jackson’s presidential campaign in both 1984 and 1988, worked as a strategist for the election of Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., and served in the Rainbow Push Washington office during the rally for D.C. statehood. Having worked in many election campaigns, including that of Congressman Bobby Rush, Gadlin has the ability to energize the campaign and design a plan to mobilize Black voters.
Major issues that need to be addressed swiftly by the Garcia campaign are a response to Emanuel’s latest media announcement of the removal of 50 red light cameras since Garcia has promised to remove all of them if elected and a response to Emanuel’s radio ads that state Garcia does not support the Obama Presidential Library being located on Chicago’s Southside.