This morning in City Hall, mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle gained an endorsement from one of Chicago's most famous residents—a guy who might be hosting his own music festival this summer. Grammy Award-winning artist Chance the Rapper endorsed Preckwinkle at a press conference, similar to the one he held to throw his support behind former mayoral candidate Amara Enyia in October. Despite holding rallies with Chance and accepting his financial support, Enyia was only able to garner 8 percent of the vote on February 26, putting her in sixth place among the field of 14 candidates.
During his press conference, Chance explained that he talked to many city activists and young people before making his decision to back Preckwinkle instead of her opponent, former Chicago Police Board president Lori Lightfoot. "The resounding voice has been that they don't necessarily feel comfortable or safe with going into a city where Lori Lightfoot sits on the fifth floor," Chance said. “[Lightfoot’s] past record as a prosecutor has not been in the best interest of young black people in Chicago.”
While significant, Chance's show of support for Preckwinkle doesn't come as much of a surprise—his father, Ken Bennett, is Preckwinkle's campaign co-chairman. Chance's rejection of a candidate with ties to the Chicago Police Department is also in line with his history of speaking out against police brutality and violence towards young black people not just in Chicago, but across the country.
Preckwinkle was not in attendance at the press conference, but she chimed in on the endorsement via a press release. “I am proud to have Chance’s endorsement, a musician who has used his voice to inspire other young people to get involved in the political process and in their communities,” Preckwinkle stated in the release. “I admire how he has used his influence to address the inequities in education and criminal justice throughout the city and it speaks to his nature as a public servant at heart.”
When Chance endorsed Enyia last year, he called himself "a political strategist of sorts" and talked up a voter registration drive he hoped to organize, bringing more young voters to the polls. While Chance confirmed that he plans to campaign with Preckwinkle in the coming weeks, he'll need to reassess his strategy to rally the youth electorate—only 3.5 percent of votes cast in Chicago's February election were from people under 25 years old.
With less than 12 days until Chicago's runoff election on April 2, it will be interesting to see how Chance's second endorsement affects the heated mayoral race.