CITY HALL — Mayoral challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia picked up some expected progressive endorsements Friday, even as a critical candidate now out of the race went back on a statement to back whoever emerged against Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a runoff.
Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) endorsed Cook County Commissioner Garcia (D-Chicago), bringing along the backing of fellow Progressive Reform Caucus member Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd).
They were joined by Aldermen-elect David Moore (17th) and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) in backing Garcia against the mayor at a City Hall news conference.
Yet Willie Wilson, who finished third with 10.7 percent of the vote to Emanuel's 45.5 percent and Garcia's 33.6 percent in Tuesday's mayoral election, continued to withhold support for one or the other.
Because no candidate earned a majority of votes, the top two — Emanuel and Garcia — move on to a runoff April 7.
Wilson's support, largely in the African-American community, could tip the election if he could swing it to Emanuel or Garcia.
The day after the final mayoral debate, when asked if he was observing a truce against other Emanuel opponents, as suggested by Garcia, Wilson said, "I've been clear myself that the only person I'm coming at is the mayor."
Wilson said that, if he didn't survive to get in a runoff, "I would not support this mayor now. I would support one of the other candidates.
"I have a problem with this mayor. I don't have a problem with anybody else," Wilson added. "I'm not gonna support Mayor Emanuel under no circumstances. If I do not get into the ... runoff, whoever gets into the runoff, I will support that person. But I cannot support a person that closed 50 schools down. I'm mad about that."
Since Tuesday's outcome, Wilson has waffled on whether he'd endorse either of the two candidates. The Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston, his campaign manager, said Friday there was no movement on that "at this time," except to add, "There is a new process in place, and more will be coming out very soon."
"I can't speak for him," Garcia said of Wilson. "I've had conversations with him," but he added that the substance of those and continuing talks would "remain private."
Earlier, Munoz called Garcia "my good friend," adding, "I know Chuy. Chuy's a neighborhood guy."
Moore likewise said his constituents backed Garcia on issues like an elected school board and minority hiring.
Ramirez-Rosa called Garcia "a champion for our neighborhoods" and someone who has made his political career out of "standing up for regular Chicagoans."
Garcia said they all shared a "vision" for the "City of Chicago as a whole."
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