CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago mayoral candidates had strong words and wide-reaching criticism for visiting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, with Paul Vallas in particular trying to distance himself from the controversial figure.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot cast her ballot Monday with her wife First Lade Amy Eshleman and their daughter Vivian.
With just eight days until the election, stakes are high and candidates are taking swipes at each other.
Lightfoot called it the most consequential election in recent memory, and took aim at DeSantis and Vallas.
"If you reject the right wing and people like Ron DeSantis, then you've got to reject Paul Vallas," she said.
Lightfoot contended this is a two-way race between her and Vallas. Polls suggest Vallas is the current frontrunner, and he took time to distance himself from the Florida governor and his visit, calling it a diversion.
"I'm not paying attention to DeSantis, or any attention to you know the DeSantis supporters. This city's at a crossroads, we have a leadership crisis," he said.
READ MORE: Protesters gather as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to law enforcement officials in Elmhurst
DeSantis is in town to speak at the Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing Chicago police, which has endorsed Vallas.
"We'll I'm just glad he doesn't get a vote in the city election, let's start there, because clearly he'd vote for Paul Vallas," said candidate Brandon Johnson of DeSantis.
Ja'Mal Green was dismissive of the controversial governor's stops in the suburbs and city.
"I don't know who it hurts or what because no one cares about Ron DeSantis in this city," he said.
Candidates took aim at Lightfoot over her comments at a weekend South Side rally, where she said if people did not support her they should just stay home.
At a luncheon with labor groups, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia called the remarks "reprehensible" and "divisive."
"We certainly need somebody who's not trying to suppress people's votes. We need somebody who can bring us together as a city," said candidate Sophia King.
"You're gonna tell people not to vote when you know many of their parents and grandparents and great grandparents suffered and sacrificed for the right to vote, so I think it was irresponsible," Vallas said.
"We're not going to allow the people including this administration to provoke fear and anxiety," said Johnson.
"That was the most disgusting thing I've ever heard in my life and in been in politics, growing up, over 50 years now," said candidate Roderick Sawyer.