Businessman Willie Wilson Enters 2023 Race for Chicago Mayor


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Millionaire businessman Willie Wilson announced he’s joining the race for mayor of Chicago on Monday (April 11).

The announcement marks Wilson's third run for mayor after failing to make the run-offs in 2015 and 2019. In the last election, he won 13 of the city’s 18 Black wards in large part due to his emphasis on charitable giving.

For the 2023 race, Wilson said in a statement that he will donate his mayor’s salary of $216,210 to churches and non-profits. Wilson recently headed two multimillion-dollar gas giveaways, which he is promising to do again.

Current Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot hasn’t officially announced her run for reelection, but it's expected that she’ll go for a second term, WGN-TV reports.

Wilson previously endorsed Mayor Lightfoot for her first term but has now stated that was a mistake, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“You [Mayor Lightfoot] should not shut down churches because of COVID and not shut down the marijuana places. Our religion is sacred. Stay away from our religion," Wilson said. "The lady had the nerve to come into churches and tell them to close down and give them tickets [if they refused]. I resent that.”

Wilson’s run could hurt Mayor Lightfoot’s reelection chances by cutting into her support with older black women. 

Political operative Victor Reyes said to Chicago Sun-Times, “Her strongest base of support is older African-American women. That’s where he would potentially cut in — with the church folks he appeals to. Reyes added, "It does significantly hurt her in the context that he might appeal to that older Black base that seems to be sticking with her."

Wilson said in a statement about his candidacy, "I don't need to run for mayor to get a paycheck. My wanting to do this is to serve the community. We want to bring all race, creed, and color together."

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