CITY HALL — Looks as if the Force is with Jesus "Chuy" Garcia this time — at least, the force behind a playful Twitter feed in the mayoral campaign.
The Twitter account @chewiesforchuy has come out, of course, for Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (D-Chicago) in his campaign to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the February municipal election.
The feed, which has about 140 followers and has posted 39 tweets since Nov. 24, plays off the nicknames for the mayoral candidate and the "Star Wars" Chewbacca character as homophones. And, while it remains to be seen if it will sway Chicago voters, it has already been lauded as "the gamechanger in this mayoral election," for its "whimsy" and for its devotion to "Star Wars" accuracy, for instance with the proper spelling of the planet "Kashyyyk."
The Garcia campaign, however, is taking it entirely seriously, and says it has nothing to do with the feed.
"So far as I know, no one from the campaign is behind this effort," said Garcia campaign spokeswoman Monica Trevino on Monday. "Whoever is behind the site should know it will have no impact on Commissioner Garcia's opposition to giving George Lucas space on our precious lakefront to build a 'Star Wars' Museum. The real 'Chuy' will always work to keep Chicago's lakefront open, clear and free."
Emanuel has welcomed the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, a project from "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, with the offering of lakefront property between Soldier Field and McCormick Place. Emanuel has called the design for it "bold." Yet the location has proved to be controversial, with lakefront advocates like Friends of the Parks opposed.
Emanuel benefited during his victorious run for mayor in 2011 from an irreverent Twitter feed called @MayorEmanuel. It actually softened some voters' attitudes toward Emanuel by casting him as a foul-mouthed, ruthless, but hilarious politician befriended by colleagues David Axelrod, Carl the Intern and a duck named Quaxelrod.
Yet the feed, written anonymously by former Columbia College instructor and Punk Planet magazine founder Dan Sinker, who now works with the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project, ended with Emanuel's election. Sinker soon revealed himself as the writer and produced a book out of the feed called "The ... Epic Twitter Quest of @MayorEmanuel."
Asked Monday in an email if he had any intention of reviving the Twitter feed for Emanuel's re-election campaign, Sinker replied simply, "Nooope."
Chewies for Chuy was reached for comment Monday with a series of Twitter messages, but when asked to identify the people behind it, responded: "I'm Chewie Mayhew, assistant to the First Mate on the Millennium Falcon."
Face-to-face interviews would no doubt sound something like this.
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