GREEKTOWN — Willie Wilson is expected to be the only mayoral candidate to seek Republican votes at a Greektown event this weekend.
The Chicago Republican Party announced this week that Wilson would address the group's regular meeting at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Parthenon Restaurant, 314 S. Halsted St.
"The candidacy of Dr. Wilson has started to gather interest from Republicans across the city," Vice Chairman Chris Cleveland wrote in an email sent out this week. "Dr. Wilson has expressed conservative positions on business, taxes, the Second Amendment and traditional values. "
The email addressed Wilson's support for Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in last fall's general election, adding Wilson "was among those Chicago African-Americans who helped Gov. Bruce Rauner earn 21 percent of the Chicago vote."
While acknowledging that's a relatively small minority of Chicago voters, it added that segment could play a critical role in the mayor's race, especially with the top two candidates facing a runoff if no one earns a majority of votes Feb 24.
The Wilson campaign maintained he's a Democrat, while seeking Republican votes.
"This isn't an endorsement session," said the Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston, Wilson's campaign manager. "They wanted to have a conversation with Willie and he said yes because he aspires to be the mayor for all citizens."
Cleveland said Friday that Wilson would be the only candidate at the event, and confirmed it would not result in a formal endorsement from GOP committeemen.
The city's mayoral voting system was changed under Mayor Richard M. Daley to eliminate primaries and instead create a single municipal election, with a runoff to insure that the victorious candidate earns a majority.
Even so, the four other candidates — Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (D-Chicago), perennial candidate William "Dock" Walls and incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel, all considered Democrats — were not leaping to challenge Wilson for Republican votes.
Michael Kolenc, campaign spokesman for Fioretti, said he would not be attending the event.
"Bob has been a pretty strong progressive voice on City Council and voters know that," Kolenc said. "If someone is going to vote for Bob it is because they agree with his vision for our city, for safe streets and strong neighborhoods."
The election is set for Feb. 24, with the runoff April 7 in races where it's necessary.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: