Democratic voters heading to the polls on Saturday will see some familiar names on the ballot, like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. They’ll also see a lesser known candidate: Dr. Willie Wilson, a Chicago multi-millionaire businessman.
But who is Willie Wilson?
He gained national attention during the 2015 Chicago mayor’s race, where he finished third in a field of five candidates. He gained about 11 percent of the vote but ultimately lost to the city’s current mayor, Rahm Emanuel.
Wilson hasn’t been included in any of the Democratic debates this election season and hasn’t been able to make it onto the ballot in some early primary states.
In a phone interview, Wilson told the Morning News that despite setbacks his race for the presidency is far from over. He wants Democratic voters to know they have third option when going to the polls this weekend.
“When I get out with people and go to events, people are very receptive of my message,” Wilson said. “I think there’s going to be some surprises here in the next couple of days. In my opinion, we’re going to get some delegates.”
Wilson said he’d like to see corporations play less of a role in politics so the average voter can run for office. He also said a priority for him would be an end to prison privatization and unjust arrests solely to make profit.
He said “the current faces of the Democratic Party,” Clinton and Sanders, have special-interest groups at their backs and don’t know the true depth of poverty and inequality in America.
“The Republicans have diversity on their ticket, but the Democrats do not,” Wilson said. “I think they’re scared I would gain traction and take away some of their establishment delegates and votes that would normally go to someone like Hillary Clinton.”
Wilson said his campaign is completely self-funded and he won’t accept money from corporations or special-interest groups.
He said the way he has been pushed aside in this election process should serve as an eye-opener on the inequalities and discrimination that exist in America’s presidential election cycle.
“You can’t get in this race and do well unless the Democratic Party sanctions or unless you have a lot of money to get into it,” he said. “I think I represent how people can pushed around, not recognized or given equal opportunities that others have in this process.”
Wilson said that on several occasions he’s been asked to speak at Democratic functions, only to be shunned when Clinton or Sanders took the stage before him.
Wilson grew up poor in rural Louisiana but through managing several businesses and launching entrepreneurial endeavors, rose to success. He is the CEO of a multi-million dollars medical supply company.
He said he hopes to bring his experience of overcoming adversity to the Oval Office.
For more information about Wilson’s campaign, visit his website at www.williewilson2016.com.