Gov. Bruce Rauner met Saturday with former mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, but the manager of Wilson’s campaign said Rauner did not seek an endorsement for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The Rev. Gregory Livingston, Wilson’s campaign manager, also denied a previous report that Rauner called Wilson twice to encourage him to endorse Emanuel in April’s runoff election.
“That is not true,” Livingston said.
Rauner confirmed Sunday that he met with Wilson. But he declined to say what they talked about, and he chuckled when asked about the Emanuel endorsement.
“I did meet with Dr. Wilson [Saturday] along with other African-American leaders,” Rauner said after a Korean community event in Glenview. “Dr. Wilson and I are friends. We’ve been friends for quite a while. We’ve worked closely together. We don’t discuss what, publicly, what issues we may or may not have discussed.”
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reported that Rauner sought Wilson’s endorsement for Emanuel after Wilson placed third in Tuesday’s election. Wilson also announced Thursday that he was retracting the promise he made on the eve of Election Day that he would endorse Emanuel challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in the event of a runoff.
Livingston denied that Rauner had called Wilson seeking the endorsement. He said Wilson met with Rauner to discuss budget cuts proposed by the governor that would hurt social service groups.