Will voters’ ‘identity politics’ choose new Chicago mayor?

CHICAGO — The campaign for Chicago mayor is in a sprint to the finish line with just over four weeks until voters head to the polls to pick a new leader.

The April 2 run-off election will be historic: For the first time, Chicago will have a black woman as mayor.

Candidates Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot are trying to broaden their bases, campaigning in neighborhoods where voters didn’t choose them Tuesday.

Preckwinkle this week released a negative attack ad on TV, while Lightfoot is running a positive message.

But as commercials flood the airwaves, political expert Jon Paul Valadez said the race might just be decided on the ground.

“Where they’re going to be able to pick up the most ground is by being on the ground, having a strong field operation in those targeted wards, putting faces there, having real-life conversations with real people,” Valadez said.

He believes Lightfoot showed crossover appeal on election night — running up big numbers in mostly white Near North Side and lakefront neighborhoods. Preckwinkle held her base near the South Side shoreline.

The rest of the city, however, voted along racial fault lines: White voters on the Northwest and Southwest Sides went for Bill Daley and Jerry Joyce.

Hispanic voters opted for Gery Chico and Susana Mendoza. Large swaths of traditionally black communities chose Willie Wilson.

It begs the question: Will…

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