Ald. Bob Fioretti enters Chicago mayoral race

WLS logo
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Ald. Bob Fioretti enters Chicago mayoral race
Second Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti has announced that he'll oppose Mayor Rahm Emanuel in February's mayoral election.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Alderman Bob Fioretti jumped into the race for mayor of Chicago Saturday with an attack against Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the mayor's campaign fired back.

Fioretti launched his campaign with a website and a campaign video.

The two-term City Council member wasted no time criticizing current Emanuel, painting him as out of touch, unwilling to listen, and divisive, a politician of broken promises on jobs, crime, and education, and attacked his administration's policies like charging not-for-profits and churches for city water.

"But our schools are being gutted, our streets are not safer and so many are missing out on economic opportunities and jobs," Fioretti said.

The Second Ward alderman made his announcement Saturday morning before a crowd of about 100 supporters at East West University in the South Loop.

"Four years ago, Rahm Emanuel promised he was going to be tough. People voted for tough, but all we got was tough luck," Fioretti told the crowd.

Fioretti proposed a 1 percent commuter tax, arguing that some 600,000 suburbanites who work in the city take $30 billion out of Chicago's economy when they go back home.

During his speech, he also said he would support a $15 an hour minimum wage for employees working for companies with revenue of more than $50 million a year.

"It is a wage that will give people respect and will help so many in this city get a leg up," he said.

The mayor also wants to up Chicago's minimum wage, but to $13 an hour by 2018.

Emanuel did not comment about Fioretti's candidacy while at a library dedication on the city's northwest side, but a spokesperson for the his campaign released a statement slamming the challenger.

"Time and again, Alderman Fioretti has shown no backbone for making tough choices and little respect for Chicago taxpayers' pocketbooks," the statement read. "Chicago can't tax itself out of its problems. Chicago needs, and has, a strong leader who has shown that he is willing to make tough decisions."

"You better look at what's happening and what he's doing," Fioretti responded.

Fioretti's announcement makes him the first major challenger to Emanuel, although Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is continuing to consider running.

ABC7 Eyewitness News political analyst Laura Washington says Fioretti and Lewis could split the anti-Emanuel vote.

"They do share the same base in the African American community," Washington said. "The strategy could be to pull off enough votes from Rahm to force a runoff and the stronger of them could defeat Rahm in the next round."

Political pundits say Fioretti's road to City Hall's fifth floor could be tough.

A recent poll found Fioretti has only minimal name recognition with the majority of voters outside his ward.

There is another candidate. Former 9th Ward Alderman and Cook County Commissioner Robert Shaw has filed nominating petitions.