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VIDEO: William J Kelly launches the #deadfishchallenge, calls out Jimmy Fallon

SORRY RAHM: Mayoral candidate William J. Kelly calls on Jimmy Fallon to take the #deadfishchallenge

Chicago, Illinois, September 17, 2014 – In a viral video challenge released
this morning, Chicago mayoral candidate - and opponent of Rahm Emanuel - William
J. Kelly baited ‘Tonight Show’ host Jimmy Fallon to sign his Chicago mayoral
petition or…eat a dead fish. 

In the video, Kelly says: 

There is no doubt that Rahm is beatable and there is no doubt in my mind that I am the candidate to beat him. There's only one problem. I need 20,000 signatures in order to get on the ballot and let me tell you: they don't make it easy to fight City Hall.  So I had this idea: We all remember when Rahm Emanuel sent a 2 and ½ foot rotting stinking dead fishto a pollster he didn’t like. Now I’m not going to send Rahm Emanuel a dead fish in the mail. I'm not going messenger him a dead fish. I'm not going to personally deliver him a dead fish sandwich. No, instead, today, I am officially issuing the DEAD FISH CHALLENGE.

To take the #deadfishchallenge, you must either: 

(1) visit, download the petition, sign it, notarize it, and mail it back to the address on the form; (2) donate $100 to Kelly’s campaign; or (3) eat a DEAD FISH, video tape it, post it on the internet, and pass the challenge along (BE CREATIVE!) 

The “Dead Fish challenge” is a counter challenge to the one issued by Kelly’s opponent, MayorRahm Emanuel Tuesday. In the video, Kelly mentions Emanuel’s strong-arm tactics force political favors from celebrities like Fallon for joint publicity opportunities.  

At Tuesday’s press conference, Emanuel called on Chicagoans to push Fallon to bring"The Tonight Show" to Chicago.  "If you really want to know, I would just say go to #TonightShowChi and call on him[Fallon] to come," Emanuel said. 

According to DNAInfo, Emanuel has a history of twisting Fallon’s arm and do so earlier this year to push Fallon into a joint press opportunity with him for the Special Olympics Polar Plunge:

In typical Rahm fashion, the mayor seized this opportunity to do a little arm-twisting —the relentless tactics typically deployed to score campaign donations and lure big business to town when he smells fear in the air — to help raise more cash for Special Olympics.…And then, behind the scenes, the mayor called his brother, Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel, to get Fallon's phone number.

The incident was not the first time Emanuel tapped his brother’s influence for a PR payoff.  

In March, a Chicago Tribune report found 700 emails between Emanuel’s staff and CNN producers to script the multi-part documentary series “Chicagoland” to make the Mayor “look like the star he really is.” 

Chicagoland's producers are represented by the William Morris Agency - which is run by Ari Emanuel. 


For more information, visit #deadfishchallenge #gotdeadfish

CONTACT:  To arrange for comment or interview, contact Amy at (312) 768-8683 or


Paid for by Citizens for William J. Kelly
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