Despite publicly playing coy about her ambitions to run for mayor of Chicago, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza has recorded a video in which she announces her campaign to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
In the video first reported Friday by WBEZ, the Democrat says, “I’m Susana Mendoza and I’m running for mayor of Chicago. … And I ask you to join me on this journey together.”
Because she’s running for re-election as comptroller on Tuesday, Mendoza has repeatedly dodged questions about her potential mayoral ambitions ever since Emanuel revealed in September that he will not seek a third term in the February election.
Asked about the video Friday, a spokeswoman for Mendoza issued a statement saying she’s still not sure whether she’ll run for mayor.
“I am focused on the Nov. 6 election because too much is at stake for the people of Illinois,” Mendoza was quoted as saying. “I’m considering a run for another office and have taken steps to prepare for that should I choose to move forward, but I have not made any formal decision.”
Veteran Democratic political consultant Eric Adelstein confirmed that his firm filmed the video and said it had been “leaked.”
”When we were filming Mendoza for her re-election campaign, I suggested, because it is no secret that she’s thinking about running for mayor, that we record some lines,” Adelstein told WBEZ. “It’s no secret that this campaign would be coming up quickly, and I thought even though you have not made up your mind, would you be willing to record it so we could move quickly, and she agreed.”
He added that “it’s too bad that it was” leaked before Tuesday’s election but that Mendoza would make a great mayor.
Sources said Mendoza could announce her mayoral run as soon as a few days after the election. She faces challenges from Republican Darlene Senger and Libertarian Claire Ball.
Republicans immediately sought to capitalize on the leaked mayoral-announcement video.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner tweeted, “It’s now clear that Susana Mendoza is running for Chicago Mayor and she should drop off the ballot for State Comptroller immediately.”
Another member of the Madigan Machine proves they care more about political gain than the people. It’s more corruption hurting our state. It’s now clear that Susana Mendoza is running for Chicago Mayor and she should drop off the ballot for State Comptroller immediately.— Bruce Rauner (@BruceRauner) November 2, 2018
Later Friday afternoon, Republican comptroller candidate Darlene Senger held a hastily arranged press conference in downtown Chicago to call Mendoza a “liar.”
“It’s not too late for her to make a statement that, ‘I don’t want you voting for me for Comptroller because I am running for mayor of Chicago,’” Senger said.
Senger said she “feels bad” for anyone who voted early for Mendoza because she’s been “disingenuous.”
Before becoming comptroller in 2016, Mendoza was Chicago’s city clerk and a state representative.