CHICAGO (CBS) —She’s run Cook County for eight years and spent 27 years on the Chicago City Council.
Now, Toni Preckwinkle is one election away from the biggest job of her political career: Mayor of Chicago.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley sat down with the woman who wants to be Chicago’s first black female mayor.
If Toni Preckwinkle is disappointed she finished second in round one of the mayoral race, she’s not letting on.
“You know I’m grateful to be in the runoff and grateful to all the good people who voted for me,” Preckwinkle said.
Grateful, after Preckwinkle was dragged down by revelations about ties to Ald. Ed Burke (14th.)
Did the Ed Burke controversy cost you votes in the first round, and did it help Lori Lightfoot in the first round?
“Look, I took the strongest position against Ed Burke. I said ‘resign as head of finance, as alderman of the 14th ward,’ and I said ‘no one, no one should have outside employment while working for the city,'” added Preckwinkle.
Preckwinkle’s position as head of the Democratic party also became problematic, offering unwavering support for former Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios, who packed his payroll with relatives, while penalizing working class homeowners in assessments.
“If you’re going to be an elected official, you’ve got to work with everybody. That’s just the way it goes. You can’t say ‘I’m not going to work with this person. I’m not going to work with that person.’ You’ve got to work with everybody.”
So, for voters assessing you, are you a progressive reformer, are you a party boss, or both?
“I’m chairman of the Democratic party and I’m a progressive.”
And Preckwinkle insists she has no intentions of giving up party leadership.
Would you consider resigning as head of the party if you’re elected mayor?
“I think Richard J. Daley served as both chair of the party and mayor of the city of Chicago. I don’t think anyone ever asked him that. Is this a question that only gets asked of women or what?”
Fact is, no one’s been asked the question since Richard J. Daley died because no one’s been in line to hold both jobs. Mayor Richard M. Daley wanted no part of the party chairmanship, preferring the appearance of distance from the machine.
Preckwinkle said voters must compare her extensive government experience against Lori Lightfoot’s, who has never held elective office.
CBS 2 is scheduled to do an in-depth interview with Lightfoot soon.