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Question of the day

Friday, Jun 27, 2014

* She had a lousy end of session and blamed the wrong people for her defeat. That and other things made me lose a lot of confidence in her overall abilities this spring

Less than a week after allies of Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced they were creating a fund-raising behemoth known as a Super PAC, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle suggested she may be closing the door to challenging Emanuel in 2015.

When asked Thursday why no credible challenger to Emanuel has emerged, Preckwinkle said: “I don’t know. You should talk to people who are thinking about running for mayor.” […]

Last week, Ken Snyder, a political consultant for Preckwinkle, criticized Emanuel’s new Super PAC, saying, “This is obviously an attempt to create a phony arms-length between Rahm and negative attack ads against a potential opponent, which no one will believe is true and reveals that Rahm’s camp doesn’t believe he can win by exclusively talking about his record.”

When asked Thursday if Emanuel’s allies were trying to send Preckwinkle a message by creating the Super PAC — a political action committed without fund-raising limits that would be run separately from Emanuel’s re-election campaign — Preckwinkle deflected the question, saying: “If you want to know what the mayor thinks, you should ask him.”

* Meanwhile

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said Thursday she is “seriously thinking” about mounting a formal challenge to Rahm Emanuel.

“I’m a little sick of the mayor and I don’t see anyone stepping up,” Lewis told the Chicago Sun-Times by telephone Thursday evening. “I am seriously thinking about it.” […]

Lewis has praised the leadership style of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle as “less confrontational” than Emanuel’s and said a few weeks ago that Preckwinkle would defeat him in a head-to-head race. […]

“I’m not looking to make anybody’s election year easy at all, especially someone who doesn’t want to make our lives easy,” Lewis said in May after a speech at the City Club of Chicago. “So if there’s a way we can have some reasonable conversation, then sure, but if not, it’s going to be contentious, absolutely, as it should.”

I’m told that Lewis really does want to run if Preckwinkle or a reasonable facsimile thereof doesn’t jump in.

* The Question: On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most likely, how likely is it that Karen Lewis could defeat Mayor Emanuel next year? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

survey tools

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    Voted “3″ for two very specific reasons that it’s Karen Lewis this question is about;

    The Teachers Union will be a piggy bank to get her message out adequately.

    The Teachers Union will have a strong ground game.

    Either one not an asset to Ms. Lewis, a generous “1″.

  2. - walker - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    1 One issue candidate, and it’s not enough to drive the majority of voters. And, if anyone could have as difficult a public persona as the Mayor, it’d be Lewis.

  3. - Archiesmom - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    If weren’t Karen Lewis, I’d have gone higher than a 2.
    Add in his access to money, and I think her chances are low.

  4. - Marty Funkhouser - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:05 pm:

    Completely agree with Willie on this. The mayor’s fundamentals are weak and he could spend a bajillion dollars and people still will think he’s one of those words he likes to use so much.

    If it were Preckwinkle instead of Lewis, I’d have punched a 4 or maybe even a 5. Lewis will have a hard time explaining how she’s going to negotiate a fair contract with the CTU when she was its head.

    If you enjoy chaos, a Lewis mayoralty and a Rauner governorship should be at the top of your wishlist.

  5. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    Ms Lewis is even more abrasive than Rahm. Added to the spending she believes it right for the schools, she will not do well outside the union bubble.

    I voted 1

  6. - A guy... - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:07 pm:

    1. Just ask around. Karen Lewis is likely the only public figure less popular than Rahm in Chicago. Canvassing in a contentious race involves some major rejection at the door. This one could be too, too personal for a lot of teachers who don’t ordinarily do this kind of campaigning. Ground game rule- it’s a numbers game. Someone disagrees, just say thank you and move on to the next one. Don’t take it personally- shake, rattle and roll.

    This race could get so intensely personal, it would be distasteful for all but the most regular canvassing pros. few net extras on the boulevards. Rahm’s got plenty of money to define her. Property taxes is the big issue in town. Who do you think the public blames the most for high property taxes? Fair or not, that’s who they blame.

  7. - Ghost of John Brown - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:07 pm:


    Ms. Lewis likes a “less confrontational” leadership style? Couldn’t have guessed that one.

  8. - A guy... - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:11 pm:

    Rahm isn’t Todd Stroger either. Preckwinkle would achieve a 1 on this too. Brass Knuckles Rahm with a lot of money would overwhelm her. Todd didn’t get her ready for a real Chicago/Cook County race.

  9. - OneMan - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    Actually would give Lewis better odds than Toni, went with a 3.

    It would be an entertaining contest. She would start with a ground game based off love in a way, don’t meet a whole lot of folks who love Rahm (better to be feared than loved I guess).

  10. - CLJ - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:18 pm:

    1 - I disagree the CTU will have a strong ground game and Lewis will be a one issue candidate. Chicago has many problems it needs to address and I don’t think she or anyone that steps up to help her are capable of making the necessary arguments as to why Rahm has not been doing a good job. I also believe that Preckwinkle wouldn’t be much higher than a 2. Her performance in the County is meh at best. Continual budget shortfalls and no major legislative victories to show for doesn’t make for a strong candidate. Additionally, she doesn’t have much of a ground game as well. Her record of supporting candidates is pretty miserable.

  11. - ChrisB - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    Rahm, while facing some valid criticism, hasn’t royally screwed up. He has the money, the ground game, and the acumen to absolutely destroy anyone who runs against him.

    Ms. Lewis, on the other hand, is an exceptionally polarizing bomb thrower. She turned off a lot of people during the strike, looking like she barely cared about actual administration. I can’t think of a worse potential candidate. Maybe Trips or Mel Reynolds, but only by a hair.

    So I voted 1, because negative isn’t an option.

  12. - Redux - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:25 pm:

    “1″ Reasons, in descending order. No matter how smart or accomplished she may be, voters will never accept her physical appearance. She doesn’t have the discipline to survive an entire election cycle without doing herself in with her mouth. Rahm is abrasive but Washington seasoned and disciplined him, comparatively. With regard to her leadership on contract negotiations/strike, she may have bested the mayor but she was extremely intellectually dishonest on the way. On some level, everyone senses that.

  13. - Apacolypse Now - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:25 pm:

    Voted 2. When you are head of the teachers union in a bad school district, voters will question her lack of ability to improve the situation.

  14. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    2. Lewis would have a decent ground game, will get the CTU vote and the black vote.

    However, her love for raising every tax under the sun and coming up with new taxes (Commuter tax, anyone?) would doom her campaign.

  15. - anon - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    Lewis will have more than just the teachers backing her. Preckwinkle will lose the votes of all other City and County employees as well. Her pension thievery plan would steal even more money from current employees than Rahm did.

  16. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    ===coming up with new taxes (Commuter tax, anyone?)===

    Um, people who would pay the commuter tax would do so because they commute into Chicago from outside the city. Ergo, they are not Chicago voters.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    ===1 - I disagree the CTU will have a strong ground game and Lewis will be a one issue candidate.===

    Bruce Rauner lost 17 points in a week on one Union issue with a ground game, getting out their voters…in six weeks if organizing.

    ===(Preckwinkle) Additionally, she doesn’t have much of a ground game as well. Her record of supporting candidates is pretty miserable.===

    Until we see who does line up with Toni, and unlike Lewis, we know won’t know what a Toni ground game could look like, while Lewis with the Union, we know done capacities.

  18. - Snucka - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:29 pm:


    Rahm would annihilate Karen Lewis in a runoff.

    Preckwinkle would get a 3 or 4 if she ran. I don’t know of anyone elsr right now who would be more than a 2. Rahm is beatable, but it would take a very strong candidate.

  19. - OneMan - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:29 pm:

    Um, people who would pay the commuter tax would do so because they commute into Chicago from outside the city. Ergo, they are not Chicago voters.

    Another clever part of my TOP tax plan (Tax On other People)…

  20. - Nonplussed - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:30 pm:

    If you were God, you would have a hard time creating a human being more unappealing than Karen Lewis. I gave her a “1″

  21. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    I give Lewis a 3, at this point. Turns out the Beatles were astute political observers:Money can’t buy you love. Karen may, at this point, be a one issue candidate, but the one issue isn’t schools. It’s the complete disregard Rahm has shown for communities of color. From conversations, it would seem West Sider’s neighbors would back a Buick as an alternative to the current Mayor.

  22. - West Sider - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:36 pm:

    That was me at 2:35.

  23. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:37 pm:

    1. As CTU head she can bully Rahm into favorable, or at least more favorable, positions for her teachers. As a losing mayoral candidate Rahm could say he won the referendum and had a “mandate” to play hardball.

  24. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    I voted 1.

    At the very least, Lewis v. Emanuel would give us a direct, head-to-head matchup instead of the continued proxy fight.

    Emanuel doesn’t want to raise property taxes until the schools improve enough to justify it. Lewis thinks the schools are doing fine, they just need more money.

    In my book, that is Emanuel’s decisive advantage. After it’s all said and done, voters would pay more in property taxes if they felt they could make full use of the schools. Until they can, they don’t want to pay more in property taxes while also paying private school tuition. Or they’ll move to a suburb with high taxes but viable schools. Emanuel knows this and he’s staked his re-election on it and I believe he’s right.

    Everything else is a distraction.

  25. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:43 pm:

    1. Generally effective union leaders don’t translate their success into elective office, particularly for executive positions.

  26. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    Why isn’t ZERO an option? What a freaking joke. It’s the union organizers fantasy. Like the tea party folks on the other side who are convinced the public is with them, Karen Lewis and her supporters are going to find out real quick that they’ve got zilch.

  27. - bottom rung. - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    Two Jewish candidates.

  28. - IrishPirate - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 3:04 pm:

    Karen Lewis couldn’t beat Rahm. She’s way too divisive and way too much of a one issue candidate. She’s sort of a female version of Rahm, but with all of her fingers.

    Preckwinkle would destroy Rahm. The idea that’s he a tough candidate is laughable. Daley cleared the way for him to get elected to Congress and his opposition in the 2011 Mayoral election was weak AND he was considered the President’s guy at the time.

    Take a look at the democratic primary results for Preckwinkle in 2010.

    Except for a handful of “machine” wards on the SW and NW side she did well throughout the city. The wards she didn’t do well in voted for Terry O’Brien and at least part of his success in those wards was based on his Irish name.

    Money matters less in a high profile race than it would in a down ballot race. I’m sure there are some folks who love Rahm out there, right, but I suspect most of them are vendors or campaign donators living in the burbs. Rahm is just not a likeable character.

    Preckwinkle does come off as a boring librarian at times, but that’s better than a flaming rage freak who seemingly views being “mare” as an opportunity to abuse people and seek higher office.

    Any pics of him and Rauner vacationing together?
    Rahm and Rauner. Sort of like the Emperor and Darth Vader.

    In the real world the first thing the opposition to Rahm should do is start registering voters. This would help Governor Quinn too. Get those voters registered and it’s a twofer. Take out the Emperor and Darth Vader.

  29. - siriusly - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    I voted “2″ sure Rahm isn’t real popular but Lewis is so unappealing, I don’t see her being able to excite a voter population at all.

  30. - William j Kelly - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 3:17 pm:

    A real city deserves are mayor!;)

  31. - Big Muddy - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    Voted 1 because there isn’t a 0. She has a face for radio and in a contest between her and Oberweis for who could kill their campaign quicker by talking I’m not sure who I would take.

  32. - anon - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 3:45 pm:

    I don’t think that anti-Rahm sentiment is a matter of race. Last night in Lincoln Square I saw several handwritten anti-Rahm rants which a white store owner had pasted on the front windows of his store. Just about every white person I know who lives in the City hates him. His money for infomercials like Chicagoland isn’t helping his approval ratings.

  33. - Anon - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 3:59 pm:

    There’s no way. She’s just as confrontational as Rahm,if not more so. And, she has no idea how to manage a city. Heck, she can barely manage the CTU.

  34. - ok...... - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    I chose 1 because she…
    1. Single issue candidate.
    2. She won’t have to match his fundraising ability.
    3. She will have a ground game, but how good will they be at delivering her message?
    4. Like Emmanuel she’s a very polarizing figure and can be perceived as a bully in the battle of independents i think Emmanuel’s people will be better at getting they’re message out.
    5. Emmanuel will hire A+ political operatives with proven experience and she’ll hire C- ’s.

    I would like Toni to run but guess it’s not happening…

  35. - tominchicago - Friday, Jun 27, 14 @ 4:23 pm:

    This isn’t fair but Karen Lewis looks like the lady in Driver’s License Division who closes her windo while you are in line to go on break. She is a one issue candidate who just does not have the appealing mien that Toni has.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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