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Chicago 2019 Mayoral Elections

Don Rose 23 January 2018 One Comment

Let’s take a shut-down breather to check out the eternal question, will Rahm Emanuel be re-elected mayor? Though the city election is only a year away, a prospective scenario is shaping up.

    Emanuel is almost certain to run. He’s out there regularly announcing “new” programs–and, as usual, announcing their immediate success. He’s pushing hard to land the jobs-rich Amazon headquarters and the recently announced Apple “campus.” Chicago is one of  Amazon’s20 “finalist” cities.

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   He’s working especially hard in the African American communities where he is considered vulnerable because of his presumed role in the coverup of the killing of Laquan McDonald by a Chicago policeman. The video of the killing was withheld for close to a year, until after his 2015 election campaign when he was forced into a runoff against Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

    Emanuel won the African American vote substantially thanks to an endorsement and commercials by then-President Barack Obama, but many wonder whether even Obama’s magic can repair Emanuel’s negative image in black neighborhoods.

    Thus far there is only one declared candidate against him: Troy Anthony LaRiviere, the outspoken principal of a highly rated public school who was fired for his political activities–notably supporting and making social media videos for Garcia. LaRiviere, an African American, was immediately elected head of the principals’ association and, with Garcia, pushed hard for Bernie Sanders in 2016. This helped him immeasurably in the progressive community, making him the current favorite to unite blacks and white progressives now that Garcia has opted to run for congress and is the overwhelming favorite to replace Luis Gutierrez.

   On the horizon, though undeclared, are Garry McCarthy, the chief of police thrown under the bus by Emanuel in the wake of the McDonald disclosures, and Bridget Gainer, a smart, well regarded Cook County Commissioner, long itching for higher office.

   McCarthy was not especially popular among the city’s cops–though he gets sympathy because the less-liked Emanuel double-crossed him after publicly supporting him. McCarthy talked police reform–but it was mostly talk. He should have a strong base on the city’s conservative northwest and southwest where cops and firefighters are clustered and the old Machine’s strongest leaders, who never really liked Emanuel, remain powerful.

   Gainer is the least known of the quartet, but is pushing herself forward more and more. Her northside district encompasses several of Emanuel’s strongest wards and is generally considered an Emanuel ally. Thus many wonder whether she will actually take him on–but if she does, and gains any traction, she could scoop thousands of votes from his base, especially among newly activated women.

   This lineup, chopping away conservative and upper-middle-class white vote blocs from Emanuel  makes LaRiviere a likely prospect for a runoff if he consolidates the African American vote–and especially if Garcia and his allies line up substantial Latino support to reciprocate for his efforts in 2015.

   If there is Emanuel fatigue out there and McCarthy catches fire, the mayor could even wind up out of the running. On the other hand, if he lands either Amazon or Apple, he could win handily.

   Additions to or subtractions from the lineup may change the equation.

**
Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer

One Comment »

  • Observant said:

    A possible preemptive strike has been fired against Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer. An article appeared in the Sun-Times highlighting her absenteeism at the Cook County Board of Commissioners. According to the story, Gainer missed 32% of Board meetings and committee meetings — the most absences of any of the commissioners.

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