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Meet President Willie Wilson? Chicago Mayoral Candidate Eyes Presidential Bid

By aaroncynic in News on May 12, 2015 2:30PM

Unsuccessful mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, who took home 10 percent of the vote in the first electoral round in February, says he isn’t done with politics yet. Late yesterday afternoon, the businessman announced he could throw his hat in the ring for President of the United States.

"Why should I sit on the sidelines when this country, America's been so good to me and I can afford to get out there and help,” he told ABC7, who reported he filed papers for an exploratory committee.

Wilson, who joined the Chicago mayoral race after donating $1 million of his own money into his campaign, finished third in the race, and later endorsed Rahm Emanuel’s challenger, Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia, in the runoff. Despite policy ideas that sounded like a joke - from reopening Meigs field to putting 75 percent of Chicago’s police force on the CTA - he was serious about taking the fifth floor of City Hall and he says he’s just as serious about taking the White House.

“If I get into it, I'll get into it to win,” said Wilson. “And I'll win because the heart says I'm trying to do what's right."

Reactions to the announcement were a mix of boredom, cynicism and mockery:

“Chicago rolls its eyes,” wrote Time Out Chicago. Hermene Hartman, publisher of N’digo Magazine, said Wilson would be an “embarrassment.”

“Can you see Willie Wilson in a debate? That will be a joke,” said Hartman. Wilson often had a tough time communicating cogent policy ideas in the mayor’s race during both the debates and on the campaign trail.

Wilson brushed off criticism, saying it “doesn't matter what people say about me. As long as I know I'm giving and trying to help others.” And while $1 million is significant in a mayoral election - even one of the most expensive in history - it’s barely pocket change in what will likely be the most expensive presidential race ever. Wilson said he plans to begin asking for donations on his website this week.