Furious about Willie Wilson’s attempt to knock him off the ballot, Ja’Mal Green is fighting back—by attacking Wilson as a Republican and tying Wilson to outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner and President Donald Trump.
On Monday, Green released an attack ad that will be posted on YouTube and other social media sites.
It opens with the words, “Willie Wilson, a Republican for mayor?” That’s followed by a clip of Wilson at a podium declaring that he voted for Rauner, who was overwhelmingly defeated by Democrat J.B. Pritzker.
As the background music plays the song “Thank You For Being a Friend,” the ad shows two still photos of Rauner and Wilson yukking it up.
That’s followed by a clip of Rauner saying: “Dr. Wilson and I are friends. We’ve been friends for quite a while. We’ve worked closely together.” In a second video clip, Rauner is quoted as saying he gave Wilson “another $100,000 at his request” to distribute to homeowners struggling to pay their property taxes.
Wilson is then shown handing out cash at a church, followed by a clip declaring, “I voted for Donald Trump for President.”
The ad closes with the words, “Rich guys stick together. Bad for Chicago.”
Wilson made no apologies for his friendship with Rauner.
“Bruce helped me get the bill signed for misdemeanor non-violence — for getting those kids out of jail. He helped with property taxes. And I appreciate what he’s done,” Wilson said.
“Ja’Mal is just mad because of the ballot situation. … Everybody has to follow the rules set for running for mayor. … Rahm Emanuel challenged me four years ago. I spent a lot of money trying to defend that. I didn’t holler about it. I just kept going until we won.”
Wilson acknowledged that he voted for both Rauner and Trump. But, that doesn’t mean he would be a “Republican mayor.”
“People know my record in the community. I’ve been Democratic all my life. And I’m gonna stay Democratic. I’m not planning on changing to Republican,” Wilson said.
“Ninety-eight percent of my life, I’ve been a Democrat. … If you look at my record of contributions, I’ve donated to a lot of Democratic candidates. I ran as a Democrat for the president of the United States.”
Green countered that Wilson can’t run from his friendship with Rauner. You judge a man by the company he keeps, Green said.
“His values are rich. His values isn’t everyday citizens. His values isn’t democracy. His values isn’t those who are at the bottom. Or he wouldn’t have supported people who stripped the funding for those who are starving,” Green said.
“Look at what Bruce Rauner did as the governor. How he stripped funding from day care and mental health services and those who really needed service in the community. [Wilson] still stood next to him. He still rallied around him during his election. Took him to churches. Accepted donations and gave his money out at churches. … We can’t have him being loyal to those who really don’t care about the community.”
As for the petition challenge, Green claims he filed roughly 15,000 signatures. Wilson’s challenges would reduce that to 11,500, which is 1,000 below the mandatory minimum.
“His plan from the beginning was to challenge black candidates. It’s not about signatures. … It’s rich vs. poor. It’s rich vs. the 99 percent,” Green said.
“[Even] if you have a candidate who files great petition signatures, you have rich people who can challenge them and drag them to court to drain their resources. … They want to drain our money so that, if we make the ballot, it’ll be [so late it’s] time to vote. Now we don’t even have resources to campaign.”