By Chinta Strausberg
With the number of people scrambling to jump into the mayor’s race, Dr. Willie Wilson has already declared he is the frontrunner in the dash for the Fifth Floor and one who has been there for the community.
As proof, he said he has the support of the community and the majority of Chicago voters. Dr. Wilson said he has gathered 50,000 signatures to run for mayor when only 12,500 are needed. “I am going to show my level of support by turning in even more signatures.”
Dr. Wilson said he had predicted that Mayor Emanuel would drop out of the race. “He did so to save himself from the embarrassment of losing,” said Wilson.
“He saw the writing on the wall with the loss of his Black base disappearing and the Laquan McDonald video that will come up over and over again in the Jason Van Dyke trial,” he surmised. “He was a bad mayor for the whole city of Chicago, and we’re better off without him.”
Besides gathering signatures, Dr. Wilson had 801 people polled showing he was the lead candidate among more than a dozen potential mayoral candidates. “I am the front-runner because of the community and their positive support.”
He took another poll that included Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “It showed Preckwinkle with 4 percent and me with 15 percent,” said Wilson.
The poll also had former Police Superintendent and now mayoral candidate Garry McCarthy with 15 percent and Wilson at 25 percent. Preckwinkle is circulating her petitions but has yet to announce her candidacy, and McCarthy said his poll showed him as the front-runner. And, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas said she too might run for mayor.
Wilson said, “Earlier, we took another poll that included the Mayor and it was a dead heat.” Mayor Emanuel shocked the entire city when he announced he would not run for re-election.
“I know I have the support from the community,” said Dr. Wilson. I work hard and will not take this campaign for granted. We feel we are going to win this race. We will stay focused and continue to help the community. We are just beginning, and I am going to win,” Dr. Wilson stated.
Several weeks ago, Dr. Wilson was under investigation by the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan after receiving complaints that he was giving away money in an alleged attempt to buy votes—an allegation that proved false.
Wilson had suspended his gift giving until the Madigan investigation was complete, but he had some choice words for his critics: “Nobody tells me who to give my money to. It’s my money, and I’ll die and go to hell before I not help someone in need.” Madigan had targeted Wilson’s foundation funds and had given him until August 23, 2018 to get his paperwork in order. Wilson could have faced jail time.
An irate Wilson blamed the aldermen for launching the investigation of his Dr. Willie Wilson Foundation especially the lead alderman, Michael Scott, Jr. (24th), who later removed his name from the resolution. The other aldermen asking for the investigation were Aldermen Raymond Lopez (15th), Joe Moore (49th) and Brendan Reilly (42nd).
The aldermen had objected to Dr. Wilson’s July 22, 2018 cash giveaway held at the New Covenant MBC where he gave our $300,000 and another $100,000 on August 1 by the Cook County Treasurer’s office.
Later, Ald. Scott, an African American, had his name removed from the resolution though initially he was the lead alderman requesting the investigation. As a result, Madigan, who is not running for re-election, gave Wilson an August 23 deadline to get his foundation paperwork in order.
After the investigation cleared his name, Dr. Wilson resumed his gift giving. He gave money to Cook County property owners who could not pay their taxes.