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In that cycle, it seems obvious incumbent Rahm Emanuel will get more votes than anybody else. Which is why the many other officials who either have declared their candidacy or are still contemplating their desire are more concerned with finishing second.
IT’S ALL BASED in the non-partisan nature of our municipal government in Chicago. Whether Democrat or Republican or whatever other political party one wants to identify with, everybody will get lumped into one election come Feb. 26.
Should it turn out Emanuel does not get a 50 percent-plus-one majority, he and the second-place finisher will compete against each other in a run-off to be held exactly one year from Monday.
Which means that none of the people wishing to challenge Emanuel are thinking about beating him. They merely wish to be “first runner-up,” so to speak.
One such candidate, the former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, says openly his desire is to get Emanuel into a run-off, where he figures that all of Chicago will unite behind his candidacy.
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HE WINS, BECAUSE he thinks a majority of Chicagoans will vote for Anybody But Rahm, and he wants to be the guy they’re forced to vote for.
Which is the line of logic that also goes behind the strategy of former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, former school principal Troy LaRaviere, self-made millionaire Willie Wilson and possible candidates Ra Joy (he was paired with Chris Kennedy’s recently-unsuccessful governor campaign), Lori Lightfoot (Chicago Police Board president), Bridget Gainer (a Cook County Board commissioner) and Amaya Enyia (a community organizer).
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None of them can beat Rahm Emanuel in a one-on-one fight. But they really think enough people in Chicago are eager to dump Rahm from office that they’ll begrudgingly vote for whichever of them survives the first portion of the municipal election process.
It probably would serve them right if Emanuel were somehow able to get a majority vote in February – thereby making the need for a run-off unnecessary.
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NOT THAT I’M saying I’m eager to see Emanuel re-elected. Or that I have ill will towards any of the individual challengers.
It’s just that we’re not going to have an election cycle in Chicago where anybody is trying to unite the various segments of our city’s electorate. It’s going to be about everybody trying to find their particular segment of supporters – with the ultimate hope being that the REST of Chicago will have to “suck eggs,” so to speak, and put up with them.
I don’t know that a majority of Chicagoans hate the idea of “Mayor Emanuel” all THAT much. Or that we're prepared to love any of them as an alternative.
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I also don’t know there’s anyone amongst the various Rahm challengers who’d be capable of uniting everybody in Chicago to vote against Rahm.
I COULD SEE where certain people with political dreams (such as McCarthy) will appeal solely to small segments of Chicagoans, many of them who would then feel compelled NOT to vote come an April 2 run-off.
The idea of a Bridget Gainer bid for office might appeal to those who’d like to see another woman beyond the late Jane Byrne rise to the ranks of being the so-called “Man on Five” at City Hall. But I could also see where the people inclined to vote for her might also be the types who could wind up voting for Emanuel.
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I already have heard enough people dredging up Vallas’ mid-1990s performance with the Chicago school system and using it as reasons they could NEVER vote for him. As for the rest, they could wind up being the candidates who struggle to get 1 percent voter support.
Which means we have 365 days and counting until we can put this mayoral quarrel behind us; then shift our attention to the desire to dump Donald Trump from his office come 2020.