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The Rundown: A challenge for Chicago progressives

Good afternoon! Yup, it snowed today. Was that a scream I just heard in the distance? Don’t worry, the weather is supposed to be warmer this weekend. Here’s what else you need to know.

1. Chicago’s progressive movement faces a major test in the upcoming mayoral election

Many self-styled progressive voters in Chicago feel like they got catfished by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, saying she flip-flopped on many big issues she supported in the 2019 election, like an elected school board.

Now, these voters are aiming to put one of their own in the mayor’s office. But a big problem is … which one?

The Chicago Tribune looks at how the crowded race for mayor presents a thorny challenge for candidates running to the left of Lightfoot: gaining traction with voters without attacking fellow progressive candidates in a way that could harm the movement.

“Progressives are going to need to get into the runoff and beat each other at the same time without beating each other to a pulp,” Rebecca Williams, a veteran political strategist who has advised progressive candidates, told the Tribune.

“That finesse, not going for the jugular but getting through the finish line, is not always a strong suit among progressives.” [Chicago Tribune]

2. Illinois voters want Pritzker to stay out of the presidential race, according to a new poll

Two-thirds of likely voters in Illinois say Gov. JB Pritzker should not run for president in 2024, according to a new WBEZ/Chicago Sun-Times poll.

Another 21% said they weren’t sure, and only 13% embraced the idea of Pritzker running for the Oval Office.

“I think there’s an apprehensiveness that comes when a sitting governor or a sitting senator of a state is looking toward possibly making a move toward national office,” said Jim Williams, an analyst with Public Policy Polling, the North Carolina firm that conducted the new poll.

“People are worried that they’re going to start leaving them behind, maybe start to pay a little bit less attention to doing their job that they’ve been elected to do in the state.”

The poll also found Illinois voters are not too thrilled about President Joe Biden seeking a second term. According to the poll, 63% of Illinois voters said they didn’t think Biden should run for reelection two years from now, while another 18% were unsure. Only 19% said they favored Biden for a second term.

But former President Donald Trump’s numbers were even worse. [WBEZ]

3. How the Chicago Housing Authority gets the OK to sell land once promised for affordable housing

Despite intense criticism, the City Council last month approved a plan allowing the Chicago Fire soccer club to build an $80 million training center on land formerly set aside for low-income housing.

Helping Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her allies sell the deal were assurances the plan would be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

But ProPublica reports the department “has never blocked a public housing land deal in Chicago,” causing the Chicago Housing Authority to “essentially become a land piggy bank for other government agencies and the private sector.”

“What it’s doing is getting the CHA and HUD out of the business of creating brick-and-mortar housing for low-income, mostly Black and brown children and families,” Don Washington, the executive director of the Chicago Housing Initiative, told ProPublica. “They’re instead building new facilities for new people.” [ProPublica]

4. Applications for student loan forgiveness are available

Student loan borrowers can begin applying to have up to $20,000 in debt forgiven after the U.S. Department of Education recently launched a beta test of its online application.

Borrowers who made less than $125,000 can qualify for up to $10,000 in forgiveness, and Pell Grants recipients can see as much as $20,000 wiped out.

NPR reports the application will be available through Dec. 31, 2023. And applications could be processed in “a matter of weeks,” according to a senior administration official.

“Timing matters because the department wants to discharge as many debts as possible before student loan payments resume in January,” NPR reports. [NPR]

5. Migrants bused to Chicago from Texas need winter clothes

Winter coats, sweaters and long-sleeve shirts are among the many items city officials and social services providers are seeking for the thousands of migrants who were bused to Chicago from Texas.

Block Club Chicago compiled all of the items needed, with the more urgent ones highlighted at the top. Donations can be dropped off at City Hall or the offices for several City Council members.

Other items needed include baby bottles, diapers and toys and activity books. [Block Club Chicago]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Republicans have gained an edge in next month’s midterm elections as concerns grow about the economy, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll. [NYT]
  • Explosive drones struck Ukraine’s capital, killing at least four people. [NPR]
  • The U.S. could eliminate monkeypox as the number of cases declines, health experts say. [NPR]
  • Here’s an inside look into the unprecedented and secretive rescue of nearly 4,000 beagles. [Washington Post]

Oh, and one more thing …

A mother and daughter baked a replica of Han Solo, captured and frozen in carbonite, out of bread.

Dubbed “Pan Solo,” the sculpture is the brainchild of Hannalee Pervan and her mother, Catherine Pervan, who co-own One House Bakery in Benicia, Calif., reports The Associated Press.

The 6-foot bread sculpture took weeks to complete, with the duo working nights after closing time.

“Mom made me leave it because I was obsessing over the lips,” Hannalee Pervan told The New York Times. “She was like, ‘You need to walk away.’ ”

The sculpture, which will be entered into a local competition, won’t be eaten and will eventually be composted. [AP]

Tell me something good ...

The weather is getting colder. What are some of your favorite treats to help you mentally cope as we plow through winter?

I’ve gotta go with the bananas — banana bread and banana pudding. Throw in some mulled wine and let’s have a good time.

Feel free to email or tweet me, and your response might be shared in the newsletter this week.

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