No Chance? Hip-hop star endorsing — not running — in mayoral race, sources say

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Chance The Rapper tweeted part of a song lyric Monday and sent Twitter into a tizzy. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Chance the Rapper isn’t ready to takes his chances on becoming Chance the Mayor.

But he is looking to add some juice to the race.

At least that’s what sources said on Monday, insisting that the Grammy-winning hip-hop artist’s cryptic announcement that he’s holding a news conference about the mayoral race does not signal his plans to join the growing field of candidates.

But the rapper and social activist will be endorsing a candidate for mayor — and it won’t be Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, sources said.

That means he and his dad will be on opposite sides of the contentious mayoral race.

It’s unclear who the rapper plans to endorse, but two sources pointed to Amara Enyia, director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Chance the Rapper ignited the firestorm himself on Monday when he tossed out the second half a line from one of his songs, prompting a swarm of Twitter followers to urge him to come through with the first half.

Just after noon, Chance tweeted: “Im thinkin maybe I should” — part of a line from his 2015 song “Somewhere in Paradise.”

But it begged the question — should what? Was the answer in the song? Because here’s the key lyric:

“They screaming Chano for mayor, I’m thinking maybe I should”

The plot thickened later Monday, when Chance tweeted just before 4 p.m. about a “City Hall pull up.” That tweet included a declaration that he would hold a City Hall press conference regarding Chicago’s mayoral election at 10 a.m. — though it didn’t say what day.

Several people tweeted their support within minutes — though some also wondered: “What day?”

The first tweet got more than 26,000 likes, nearly 7,000 re-tweets and more than 360 replies, many from people urging him to run for mayor — though many others told him to drop another album.

Chance hadn’t tweeted anything else to clarify, though it is worth noting that his father, Ken Bennett, is supporting Preckwinkle (Chance’s given name is Chancelor Bennett).

Ken Bennett did not respond to a request for comment.

Sources said later Monday that Chance was not planning to take his chances before the voters, but he would be choosing sides himself.

The Chatham-born rapper and activist has never officially thrown his iconic “3” hat into the ring for a mayoral run, but in 2017 a collective of his fans created the website chanoformayor.com urging Bennett to enter the race to challenge Emanuel. The website has no official connection with Chance.

The rapper wasn’t tipping his hand about who he plans to endorse, but he is close to one of the candidates, community activist Ja’Mal Green. Green has said he has known Chance since they were in youth programs together a decade ago, and Green considers Ken Bennett a “mentor” and a “father figure.”

But two sources said Chance is actually planning to endorse Enyia, aGarfield Park activist who dropped out of the 2014 mayoral race in favor of Ald. Bob Fioretti.

Green scheduled his own City Hall news conference for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

That’s 30 minutes after Chance’s endorsement session.

That fueled widespread speculation among several rival mayoral campaigns that Chance will throw his support to Enyia, since Green would not need his own presser if he was the endorsed candidate.

Greenhas told the Sun-Times that he is running because he was unable to convince Ken Bennett to challenge the mayor who was once Bennett’s boss at City Hall.

In fact, Green said both he and Chance had lobbied behind the scenes to persuade Ken Bennett to quit his job as Emanuel’s director of public engagement during the tumultuous days that followed release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video.

Emanuel announced last month he would not seek reelection at the end of his current term.

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