Wednesday, October 27, 2010



I would describe my reaction to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s dropping out of the mayoral race (or, more properly, never formally entering the race for mayor) as shocked, but not surprised. I’m shocked because I, and just about (Lynn Sweet of the Sun-Times said this morning that Dart’s not running was no surprise to her.) everybody else, thought he was in. And, as I have said in a few fora, if I had to pick a winner at this juncture, it would have been Tom Dart. But I’m not surprised he dropped out, given his personal situation; he has five young children (I heard five under the age of ten; I haven’t been able to verify that, though.) It must be tough enough to spend enough time with one’s family when one is sheriff; doing so when one is mayor would present some seemingly insurmountable difficulties, and some very tough, almost heart wrenching decisions. Yes, I know the current mayor’s father was able to balance being mayor, party boss, and capable father of a large family, but expectations for, and the role of, a father are quite a bit different today than they were in 1955. While I don’t know Tom Dart, from what I know of him, I believe him when he cited his family as the reason for his not running, and I think his statement

The only regret I’d ever have is if I turned out to be a bad father.”

is sincere. I admire this sentiment and I wish Mr. Dart well.

As I said in my 10/15/10 piece, AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR…, this field is narrowing faster than even I, who never thought this race was going to be as wide open as the experts thought, had suspected. AT THIS JUNCTURE, we are down to three candidates with a viable chance of being the next mayor of the greatest city in the world:
James Meeks, Gery Chico, and Rahm Emanuel, in no particular order. Some would argue that Carol Moseley Braun has a chance, and her having hired such big guns as Victor Reyes and Mike Noonan to run her campaign lends credence to that view. However, I, and doubtless many of you, simply cannot see it. Carol Braun’s record is one of slovenliness, neglect of office, and serial failure. Noonan and Reyes are good, but even the best salesman cannot sell such a tainted product. Miguel del Valle might be considered to be viable, but he never had much of a chance and it hasn’t improved with Dart’s dropping out.

Unlike most of the punditocracy, I’m not sure that Dart’s dropping out provides a huge boost for Rahm Emanuel. I’m not being coy; I’m just not sure. Dart and Emanuel were both perceived as Daley favorites, but so is Gery Chico, so some of that Dart support could just as easily go to Chico as to Emanuel. Dart had strong support in the black community, largely due to his efforts in the wake of the Burr Oak cemetery fiasco and his efforts on behalf of tenants evicted due to their landlords’ foreclosures. That support would more likely go to Meeks than to Emanuel. So it’s difficult to say whom Dart’s staying away helps the most.

All this could change after November 2 when the likes of Danny Davis, Lisa Madigan, and Maria Pappas are safely reelected to their current posts and make final decisions on whether to run for mayor. The entry of any of these three will have huge ramifications for the election. Right now, one would have to bet that none of these three will enter, but who knows? Who would have predicted Tom Dart’s staying away from the race?

This continues to be lots of fun; I hope it doesn’t end too soon. But I do think the chances of our not seeing an April runoff, already better than most people thought (See, again, my 10/15 piece, AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR), have increased dramatically.

No comments: