Susana Mendoza on Her Battle to Become Chicago’s Next Mayor

Susana Mendoza announced her candidacy for Chicago mayor just days after winning re-election as Illinois comptroller. (The announcement wasn’t a huge surprise – part of her mayoral campaign launch video accidentally leaked before Election Day.)

Mendoza originally won the comptroller’s seat in the 2016 special election to fill the remaining two years of the term held by late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

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Now, Mendoza is facing a significant challenge by another front-runner in the mayoral race, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Both Mendoza and Preckwinkle are the only two candidates in the field of 21 who ran in the November general election and subsequently announced their candidacies to become Chicago’s next mayor.

Preckwinkle has targeted the nominating petitions of Mendoza and four other women of color. Mendoza calls that bullying.

“I will be on the ballot for mayor as I have the resources to see this challenge through,” Mendoza said in a statement Sunday. “But, this bully move by Toni Preckwinkle is about one thing: knocking women of color off the ballot who are standing in the way of her self-coronation in February.

“It’s shameful that the Chair of the Cook County Democratic Party, the highest-ranking woman in county government, in the Year of the Woman and the age of Trump, would try to silence the voices of five women of color,” Mendoza continued. “I’m calling on Toni Preckwinkle, the boss of the party bosses, to pull back her patronage army and drop the challenge to the petitions of the other four women of color in this race.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Preckwinkle responded Monday. “There’s a process for getting on the ballot. You have to have 12,500 signatures. The rules are the same for everybody. Everybody has to meet that bar.”

Mendoza started her career in politics in 2001, when, at the age of 28, she was elected and sworn in as a state representative of the 1st District. She served in the Illinois House until 2011, when she was the first woman elected as Chicago city clerk, an office she held until 2016.

Mendoza joins Carol Marin to talk about her candidacy and the issues facing the city’s next mayor.

More interviews with mayoral candidates:

La Shawn Ford

Gery Chico

Bill Daley

Amara Enyia

John Kozlar

Lori Lightfoot

Paul Vallas

Ja’Mal Green

Dorothy Brown

Neal Sáles-Griffin

Willie Wilson

Garry McCarthy

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