Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is among a dozen African American mayors from throughout the country featured in a series of new campaign spots for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris reminding Black voters about the power of their voting bloc.
Biden and Democratic officials are looking to boost Black voter turnout this year in key battleground states, such as Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, following a decline four years ago that helped sway the race from Hillary Clinton to President Donald Trump.
In a 30-second spot, Lightfoot along with a handful of African American women running some of the largest cities in America link activism to participating in the political process. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms opens the ad, saying, "Black women have always been on the front lines of social justice” from making phone calls and organizing to running for office.
For her part, Lightfoot punctuates those contributions with a chuckle-worthy, even timely, one-liner: “All while being fly.”
The ad was filmed on Sept. 20, Lightfoot’s political director Dave Mellet said — well before Wednesday’s televised vice presidential debate, where a fly landed on Republican Vice President Mike Pence’s hair and sat there long enough to light up social media for hours. Lightfoot also is seen wearing sunglasses at one point, a nod to those aviators Biden loves to wear — and gets some grief about from at least one late-night TV show host.
The Biden campaign provided the mayor with a script for the spot.
In a news release, the Biden campaign says the TV and digital ads, released Saturday, feature 14 Black mayors' “message to Black men and women about utilizing their collective power as voters during this election.” There also is a second 30-second spot featuring African American men who are mayors; the two spots are linked in a 1-minute ad that can be viewed here.
Other mayors in the ad with Lightfoot are Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser; San Francisco Mayor London Breed; New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell; Flagstaff, Arizona, Mayor Coral Evans; and Charlotte, North Carolina, Mayor Vi Lyles. The ad with the male mayors includes: Columbia, South Carolina, Mayor Steven Benjamin; St. Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Melvin Carter; Denver Mayor Michael Hancock; Richmond, Virginia Mayor Levar Stoney; Stockton, California, Mayor Michael Tubbs; Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner; and Birmingham, Alabama, Mayor Randall Woodfin.
The ads are airing nationally and in key battleground states including Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. With its solid base of Democratic support, Illinois is not considered a presidential election swing state.
Lightfoot has been on the virtual campaign trail for Biden as recently as last week. On Monday, she hosted a remote phone banking session where she offered a pep talk and dialed up voters on behalf of the Biden-Harris ticket. Lightfoot, like Harris, is a history maker in American politics. While Harris is the first Black and Asian American woman to be nominated to the presidential ticket of a major political party, Lightfoot is the first Black woman to be elected mayor in Chicago.
Lisa Donovan is the host of The Spin, the Tribune’s politics newsletter. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox weekday afternoons.
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