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Sunday, September 5, 2010

FOUR MORE YEARS

Despite Talk, Potential Rivals for Daley Stand Back
Chicago News Cooperative
By DAN MIHALOPOULOS and MICK DUMKE
Published: September 4, 2010
 
Many Chicago political axioms have come under assault from reformers and federal prosecutors in recent years, including “Where’s mine?” and “We don’t want nobody nobody sent.” But “You can’t beat somebody with nobody” remains as true as ever with the 2011 mayoral election less than six months away.
Despite polls showing that he is less popular now than at any other point in his 21-year tenure, Mayor Richard M. Daley seems poised to glide into his seventh term over what appears to be weak opposition.
In a city where one Richard Daley or the other has been mayor for 42 of the last 55 years, it is much easier to criticize the boss than to find a candidate who can raise the campaign money, build the citywide stature needed, and clearly articulate an alternative plan to lead Chicago. The few who might be most capable are unwilling to cross Mayor Daley and prefer to wait until the 67-year-old mayor steps down voluntarily.
Several potentially strong candidates did not deny that they would love to have the job — but only if Mr. Daley bows out, something he appears unlikely to do now, if ever. In that category are Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff and former mayoral campaign aide, as well as Tom Dart, the Cook County sheriff.
A handful of local elected officials, including Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward), Alderman Robert Fioretti (2nd Ward) and State Representative John Fritchey have ramped up their criticisms of Mr. Daley. None have committed to challenging the mayor in the February election, but if they do, even some mayoral critics doubt that they could mount an effective insurgent campaign.
Pondering their options most loudly are Mr. Fioretti and Mr. Waguespack, two freshmen City Council members. At this point, though, both are circulating nominating petitions to run for re-election as aldermen, not for mayor. Each would begin a mayoral campaign with a fraction of the nearly $1.5 million that Mr. Daley has in his political war chest, state records show.
“It’s almost like Daley wins by default,” said Don Rose, a veteran Democratic consultant. “He is more vulnerable than four years ago. I just don’t see a formidable figure who is willing to challenge him.”
Mr. Rose played central roles in two of the biggest political surprises in the city’s history: Jane Byrne’s election as mayor in 1979, and the 1983 victory of Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago. But this time, Mr. Rose said, he does not see the makings of a close race, much less an upset.
“It’s going to take something more than a Fioretti or a Waguespack,” he said.
As has been his custom, Mr. Daley has not yet announced whether he will run for re-election. But William Daley, the mayor’s brother and longtime political adviser, told the Chicago News Cooperative last week that he expected him to seek a seventh term. William Daley said he was skeptical that potential challengers who have recently emerged would end up on the ballot next year.
“We’ve seen this movie six times,” he said.
Other mayoral supporters echoed William Daley’s expectation that his brother was not ready to step down from the office he has held without serious challenge since 1989.
“He seems totally engaged in it — not that he enjoys every minute,” said John Schmidt, the mayor’s first chief of staff. “The economy has made his job much more difficult.”
The mayor’s notoriously prickly skin is pulled thinner than ever as the city’s budget deficit grows to record levels. The dire economic times have emboldened some elected officials to increasingly distance themselves from the mayor.   read more...

The politics in this city and this state are pathetic. No one will run because they like it the way it is. One of them is more crooked than the next. They're all in on it. You can't believe a word any of them say. This town is run by a few political and outfit families. They can't be touched. Period. No one will ever do anything about it. Not the feds. Not the IG. Not any of the cowardly Alderthieves. The Shankster will die in office. He can't let anyone see the books or he goes to jail. So he stays. We're stuck with him. And it will cost us.

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