Campaign worker’s death prompts claims of electoral intimidation

After a campaign worker was shot and killed while canvassing the West Side Friday, some candidates on the ballot this February say political intimidation is plaguing the election.

Campaign worker Cordero Weathers had just left home Friday morning when he was gunned down on Spaulding near Lexington in Homan Square.

"You slaughtered and killed my son; you shot him 12 times,” Weathers' mother Latrice said, addressing the shooter Sunday.

Weathers went to meet his god-sister Traci Treasure Johnson, an aldermanic candidate in the 24th ward, Friday morning. The two were preparing to campaign outside of an early voting polling place.

Johnson says someone hid behind a moving van and opened fire on Weathers, who was also one of her campaign volunteers. Weathers died later at Mount Sinai.

“In one second he just fell next to the garage. I just saw blood gushing and covering up his shirt and I was like Cord you shot!” Johnson said.

Johnson said Weathers' shooting came just two weeks after a verbal altercation with campaign workers for 24th Ward Alderman Michael Scott Jr. She’s not sure it’s just a coincidence.

“They were having words back and forth and I was upset because the alderman allowed his staff to get out the car to get in front of me,” Johnson said.

Michael Scott Jr. said in his own statement: “neither myself nor anyone on my campaign knew this individual nor had any interaction with him."

Other candidates described similar acts of violence and assault dating back to the November election.

In December another campaign worker, Maxwell Little was shot multiple times while campaigning in the 15th ward for challenger Joseph Williams. He survived.

“We’ve seen a pattern across the 24th ward, 28th ward, and many of these other wards on the West Side," said Rev. Steven Stultz, New Church Apostolic Ministries. "People being assaulted. People being shot that are close to people running for office.”

Justina Winfrey, 28th Ward Aldermanic candidate, said they have been "warned" by elected officials and their staff, and "threats have been made."

"You have millennials running for office who want to see change in the community but you have the past haunting our blocks and continuing to oppress candidates and suppress the vote." Winfrey said.

A candidate in the 37th Ward, Deondre Rutues criticized incumbents, saying they "aren’t ready to give up that change this city so desperately needs."

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