Friday, October 15, 2010



When the Mayor first announced on September 7 that he would not be running for reelection, the conventional wisdom was that there would be a plethora of candidates running in the February preliminary election, so a candidate could conceivably make it to the April finals with a very small percentage of the February vote. It was going to be, according to the cognoscenti, a wide open race. This would seem to make sense; there is no shortage of egos in politics anywhere, least of all in Chicago, and mayor of this town is not a position that becomes vacant all that often. However, I thought the conventional was, as usual, wrong on this one. There were, and are, plenty of people who would like to be mayor, and a smaller, but still large, number of people who would make good mayors. (See my 9/7/10 piece “LONG LIVE THE KING!”) However, it soon became clear to me that as the expense and other travails associated with a real race for mayor became apparent to the legions of wannabes “considering” a run for the Fifth Floor, the pack would thin and thin quickly. This belief was confirmed for me in mid-September when Alderman Scott Waguespack of the 32nd, a very capable young man who had all but declared that he would run before Daley decided to take a pass, became one of the first to declare his non-candidacy, citing the expense and difficulty of running in what looked like a crowded field.

It is October 15 and we have already reached the point at which there are only four viable candidates for mayor: Tom Dart, Rahm Emanuel, James Meeks, and Gerry Chico. Sure, there are plenty of others still technically in the race, but they represent quite slim pickings. Who really thinks Ricky Hendon, Miguel del Valle, or Carol Moseley Braun has any chance of becoming our next mayor? In fact, I would go so far as to say that, as the deal making continues (Does anyone think Luis Gutierrez dropped out to concentrate on his immigration crusade in Congress?) and the field narrows further, we could see the mayor chosen in February, with no need for an April runoff, just as we have seen since the inception of the non-partisan mayoral election in 1999.

Note, though, that it is still early; the race only began about five weeks ago and the February preliminary is still almost four months away. Anything could happen. If, say, Lisa Madigan or Danny Davis gets into the race, both unlikely, the former more than the latter, everything changes. The same might also be said for Maria Pappas. And, as crazy as this might sound at this juncture, I still think the name of my long shot candidate, Alderman George Cardenas of the 12th (See, again, my 9/7/10 piece “LONG LIVE THE KING!”), still could come up before the dust settles. And maybe even stranger things might happen; this is, after all, Chicago.

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