Chance the Rapper endorses little-known candidate in Chicago mayor race

Chance The Rapper, pictured here at a Brooklyn performance on September 29, 2018, is lending his celebrity to a little known candidate in Chicago's race for mayor

Chance the Rapper on Tuesday endorsed a little-known Chicago mayoral candidate, lending his celebrity firepower to someone who aspires to be the first black woman to run America's third largest city.

The Chicago-born artist has been an outspoken activist in the Midwestern city and recently purchased the defunct news website Chicagoist.

He endorsed Amara Enyia, a fellow activist who has been overshadowed in a field crowded with political heavyweights vying for the city's top job in the February 26 election.

Current mayor Rahm Emanuel last month announced he would not run for a third term.

"I wanted to be behind the person that I believe can make a change," Chance, the subject of speculation he might run himself, told a news conference.

When asked if he would financially support Enyia, he quipped: "I haven't yet, but we'll see. I've got a lot of money."

Enyia is the head of a business group in one of the city's economically-struggling southern neighborhoods, where gun violence, the drug trade and poverty have contributed to a skyrocketing murder rate -- 432 murders citywide this year -- although that is down 19 percent from last year.

"We are in an historic moment, when we as a city get to decide the path that we take," Enyia said in accepting the endorsement.

City officials have faced a torrent of criticism in recent years as gun violence skyrocketed, city budget deficits soared, taxes rose, and some public schools and mental health facilities closed.

Activists also have accused the mayor, police and city officials of attempting to cover up the 2014 fatal police shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald, which led to a police officer's murder conviction two weeks ago.