Just one month after the historic governor’s race in Illinois—where both candidates spent record amounts of money—Chicagoans look toward yet another election. And this time it is for the top office in the city, mayor. When current Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced in September that he wouldn’t seek re-election, the already large pool of candidates immediately expanded.
Candidates had until last week to file petitions to be on the ballot in the February 26, 2019, election. Twenty-one candidates made the deadline. Now challenges to their petitions are being reviewed, which will probably reduce the numbers before the election. However, for now, here is a snapshot of all of the candidates who have filed petitions to run for the next mayor of Chicago:
WILLIE L. WILSON
Education: Doctor of Divinity degree from Mt. Carmel Theological Seminary, Doctorate in Humanitarianism from Denver Institute of Urban Studies and Adult College, Doctor of Humane Letters from Chicago Baptist Institute.
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $238,499.22
Political Highlights: Known for his charitable giving, Dr. Wilson is a proud South Side businessman. Dr. Wilson ran for mayor in 2015 and ran for US President in 2016.
Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in General Studies and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Chicago.
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $596,445.97
Political Highlights: Before her role as Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle served as 4th ward alderman for four terms and Executive Vice Chair of the Cook County Democratic Party. Preckwinkle supported the controversial “pop tax,” but has maintained her seat as County Board President for almost a decade.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in History and Political science, Master’s degree in political science, Certified teacher from Western Illinois University.
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $436,645.44
Political Highlights: Vallas is a former CEO of both the School District of Philadelphia and the Chicago Public Schools. In 2002, Vallas failed to become Illinois Governor after placing second in the primaries. In 2014, Pat Quinn tapped Vallas to be Lt. Governor as he ran against Governor Bruce Rauner.
JERRY JOYCE JR.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science from Yale University.
Juris Doctor Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $140,945.20
Political Highlights: The “law-and-order” candidate is the son and namesake of a former alderman-turned-state representative. His brother, Mike Joyce, worked on Chuy Garcia’s mayoral campaign.
WILLIAM M. DALEY
Education: BA from Loyola University Chicago, J.D. from John Marshall Law School.
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $2,514,695.53
Political Highlights: His father is “Old Man Daley” and his brother ran the city before Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Bill Daley served as President Obama’s Chief of Staff and dropped out of the 2014 gubernatorial race.
Education: BA in History from State University of New York at Albany
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $379,816.54
Political Highlights: Fired by Rahm Emanuel after Laquan McDonald protests, McCarthy sets his sights on the city’s top seat. He believes he is qualified after being employed as police superintendent under Mayor Corey Booker, former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Deputy Commissioner of Operations under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
DOROTHY A. BROWN
Education: BA Accounting/Computer Science, Magna cum Laude from Southern University.
Certified Public Accountant.
Master in Business Administration (MBA) with honors from DePaul University.
J.D. with honors from Chicago-Kent College of Law
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $36,764.02
Political Highlights: The Circuit Court Clerk currently faces federal charges for alleged pay to pay corruption. Before then, she has been re-elected three times to her current office.
Education: BA in Political Science University of Illinois at Chicago
JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $1,083,145.58
Political Highlights: Former CPS Board President
SUSANA A. MENDOZA
Education: B.A. in Business Administration from Truman State University
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $504,500.00
Political Highlights: Mendoza was the first woman elected City Clerk in Chicago. The current Illinois Comptroller now is battling Toni Preckwinkle’s challenge to her mayoral petition signatures.
Education: Bachelor’s degrees in journalism and political science, a master’s degree in education, a law degree, and a Ph.D. in Education Policy PhD in Education Policy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $200,067.54
Political Highlights: The current director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce in Chicago has received endorsements from Chance The Rapper and Kanye West. Dr. Enyia ran for mayor in 2015, but didn’t make the ballot. Recently, her campaign is said to have collected over 62,000 petition signatures, more than any other mayoral campaign.
LA SHAWN K. FORD
Education: Attended, Niles College Seminary, BS, Education, Loyola University Chicago
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $3,029.81
Political Highlights: State Rep Ford has sponsored the Laquan Law politician recall bill shortly after the Laquan McDonald protests occurred. He was a campaign surrogate for Senator Bernie Sanders and a longtime advocate for ex-offender rights.
Education: Bachelor Degree Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $18,072.92
Political Highlights: Neal Sáles-Griffin declined an invitation to work on President Obama’s 2012 campaign as a project manager and opted to build a coding school with his friend Mike McGee. He personally knows J.B. Pritzker and happily introduced the gubernatorial candidate at the Pritzker campaign launch.
Education: BA in Political Science from the University of Michigan, a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $424,422.49
Political Highlights: Lightfoot faced protests during her time as former Chicago Police Board President and former Chair of The Task Force on Police Accountability. She questions the validity of any candidate that didn’t declare to run when Mayor Emanuel was in the race.
JOHN KENNETH KOZLAR
Education: Bachelors with honors in Political Science from the University of Chicago. Law Degree from the John Marshall Law School.
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $566.32
Political Highlights: From his campaign website: “Kozlar’s first run for public office came in 2011 (at the age of 21) when he ran for Alderman as a progressive candidate in the heart of Chicago’s political machine – the 11th Ward. With only $520, John Kozlar came within just 1,255 votes from forcing a run-off with then 13-year incumbent Alderman James Balcer.
ROBERT “BOB” FIORETTI
Education: Law degree from Northern Illinois University College of Law
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $43,283.43
Political Highlights: Fioretti was alderman for two terms until city council redrew his ward. Since then, he lost to Rahm Emanuel in the 2014 mayoral election and to Toni Preckwinkle in the in 2018 primaries for Cook County Board President.
Education: Philips High School
Campaign funds reported available as of 11/30/18: $17,995.01
Political Highlights: Green has been a community activist since he was a teenager. He rose to national fame after publicly bashing Rahm Emanuel in the wake of the 2015 Laquan McDonald protests.
The candidates listed below do not have an active campaign website or reported campaign spending:
ROGER L. WASHINGTON
SANDRA L. MALLORY
CONRIEN HYKES CLARK
CATHERINE BROWN D’TYCOON