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Mendoza brands Daley ‘Rauner’s mayor’ after he accepts $1M from Ken Griffin

Mayoral candidate Susana Mendoza is interviewed by reporter Fran Spielman in the Sun-Times newsroom last year. File Photo. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Mayoral candidate Susana Mendoza is interviewed by reporter Fran Spielman in the Sun-Times newsroom last year. File Photo. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Susana Mendoza argued Wednesday that Bill Daley would be “Bruce Rauner’s mayor” after Daley accepted a $1 million campaign contribution from Rauner’s biggest donor: hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin.

“I’m not running to be mayor to be something. I’m running for mayor to do something. And right now, I’ve got to make sure that Chicago keeps moving in the right direction and doesn’t elect ‘Bruce Daley,'” Mendoza, making an intentional slip, told a late afternoon news conference.

Griffin, she added, “is supporting Bill Daley because Bill Daley is Bruce Rauner’s candidate.”

As state comptroller, Mendoza led the charge against Rauner’s devastating budget cuts during the marathon state budget stalemate. She gleefully danced on Rauner’s political grave on election night — even after the one-term governor had already conceded to J.B. Pritzker.

The $1 million campaign contribution to Daley from Griffin, who opened his checkbook to the tune of $36 million for Rauner, gave Mendoza yet another opportunity to pounce.

As co-chair of Bruce Rauner’s transition team, Daley, she argued, “wrote the blueprint” for Rauner’s “four years of crisis and destruction.”

So it’s “no surprise” that Daley now has the endorsement of and $1 million from “Rauner’s biggest funder and enabler,” she said.

“Chicago’s families can’t afford four years of a mayor who stood by silently while his friend Bruce Rauner launched attack after attack on our workers, cut critical social services, and assaulted women’s reproductive health care rights,” she said.

“The last thing Chicago needs is Bruce Rauner’s mayor.”

Apparently fearful that Daley may be elbowing her out of a spot in the runoff against Toni Preckwinkle, Mendoza on Wednesday launched a new website
— “The Daley Trouble” — patterned after the game show “Jeopardy.”

A game board playfully invites players to choose from among ten categories to learn more answers to the question, “Who is Bill Daley?”

Under the category, “Parking Meters,” the answer is: “He advised in favor of the city selling its parking meters system, then called it `good business’ and said he is open to privatization of more city assets.”

Under the category labeled, “Tax Returns,” the answer is: “Just like Donald Trump, he won’t release his tax returns, preventing voters from seeing where and how he earned more than $2.3 million last year.”

Choose, “Clout Jobs,” and you’ll get this description linking Daley to the city hiring scandal: “Sworn FBI testimony showed he helped his brother create a secret clout list of individuals who were seeking positions and promotions at City Hall.”

Under the category, “Housing Crisis,” the answer is: “Under his watch as a senior exec, J.P. Morgan Chase illegally foreclosed on homeowners and issued racially-discriminatory loans.”

Pick, “Family Bonus,” and you get this answer about the pension investment deal-gone-sour disclosed by the Sun-Times: “In a sweetheart deal, his nephew lost Chicago taxpayers $54 million in city pension funds while making $9 million off the deal.”

Daley’s campaign manager Jorge Neri fired back at Mendoza.

“The only thing in jeopardy is her campaign and the taxpayers of Illinois who have paid her donors hundreds of millions of dollars through sham companies that are profiting from the state’s failure to pay its bills on time,” Neri said in a statement.

The Hired Truck, city hiring and minority contracting scandals cast a giant shadow over former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s 22-year administration.

So did the steady drumbeat of contract cronyism benefiting Daley’s friends, political allies and members of his own family.

That included money-losing pension deals that lined the pockets of Daley’s nephew, his son’s hidden interest in a city sewer deal and the emergence of his brother’s law firm as Chicago’s preeminent zoning firm.

Bill Daley has unveiled an ethics plan tailor-made to separate himself from his older brother’s tenure and prove his election would not bring more of the same.

He has also argued there’s a “big difference” between his own style and the way Richard M. Daley ran Chicago and named three ways: He would never have sold the parking meters. He would not have allowed the pension crisis to fester. And he would have closed Meigs Field, but in the daylight.

Mendoza’s interactive website and social media graphics are part of a digital advertising buy intended to, as her campaign put it, “remind voters who Bill Daley really is.”

“They will quickly learn that he isn’t a reformer. He isn’t a good steward of taxpayer dollars. And he isn’t transparent,” Mendoza press secretary Christian Slater was quoted as saying in a statement.

“Bill Daley doesn’t want voters to dwell on the past because he put Chicago in jeopardy. But he must answer for his record.”