What if “Chuy” wins?

What seemed like one heck-of-a long shot a few months ago, now is getting traction. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia no longer is a dark horse to become the next mayor of Chicago. Some say he is locked in a dead heat to possibly upset the one-term incumbent, Rahm Emanuel.

High profilers in Chicago’s African American community are piling on to Garcia’s campaign, smelling the meat-a-cookin’ if their man pulls it off on April 7.

Defeated mayoral candidate Willie Wilson says he holds the cards to swinging the black vote to Chuy.

Wilson barely ran in the money in the general election, coming in third with a trifle under 11 percent of the vote, or a little more than 50,000 votes that represented nearly 22 percent of all votes cast, mostly in black wards. Still, that was impressive.

“I’ve been told whichever way I go, (his supporters will go),” Wilson told vet City Hall watcher Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Wilson did not shrink from touting his strength in the black community in his interview with Spielman. “They’re waiting on me,” she said he said.

“It will be the tipping point. No doubt about it. This is the first time in history it’s ever happened,” Wilson added, talking about his influence over his supporters and “his churches.”

And I’m sure the Rev. Jesse Jackson is saying his followers are waiting on him as he’s photographed hugging a smiling Chuy along with Westside Congressman Danny Davis and others.

And we know, Jesse and Danny both have their “churches.”

However, other leaders in the black community, including many pastors with substantial congregations, are keeping their powder dry for now. They’re not so easily swayed.

But, wait a minute, Willie. This is Chicago. First time in history? Remember Harold? Remember Eugene? Remember Jane? First time for what?

And, what price did Garcia promise to pay for Willie’s endorsement?

Reopening closed schools, at what price? Getting rid of all red-light cameras, at what price? A guarantee to Wilson on the awarding of lucrative contracts, perhaps like concessions at O’Hare International Airport, at what price? And, again according to Spielman, being told “I have a direct line to him to advise him on some things,”  at what price?

Who knows what else was thrown in for Willie’s tipping point endorsement?

Wilson had vigorously peddled his tipping point power to both Chuy and Rahm. Word on the street says that what Wilson was demanding made Blago’s scheme (former Governor Rod Blagojevich who’s now doing time) look like peanuts. To which, I’ve been told, Rahm flatly said, “No way!”

With a little over three weeks before Chicago voters decide who has “tipping point” power in this city, a lot of questions remain:

  • Which candidate has the best chance of getting Chicago back on solid financial footing and not becoming another “Detroit”?
  • Which candidate can continue attracting international recognition for Chicago as truly a world class city and can play on the big stage?
  • Which candidate has drawing power for new business?
  • Which candidate has the kind of experience and vision to lead Chicago into the future?
  • And, which candidate has the best chance of bringing all Sides and neighborhoods of this great city together and not drive them further apart?

I’ve answered those questions for myself and I urge you to give them serious thought as well. No matter what your final answer is, most importantly exercise it in the voting booth April 7. You are the only one who has real tipping point power, so please use it!

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