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*** UPDATED x1 *** Preckwinkle formally takes herself out of the mayor’s race

Tuesday, Jul 15, 2014

* From Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle…

“I have decided to rule out a run for Mayor of Chicago in 2015 because I made a commitment to reform Cook County’s criminal justice system, transform our healthcare system, and ensure the viability of our pension system. We are making progress, but we still have work to do. I’m proud that we have balanced the budget every year while cutting the sales tax, holding the line on property taxes, and cutting a billion dollars of fat out of our budget. I am equally proud that our economic development initiatives have helped position our region to create new jobs in the near future. I promised to clean up Cook county government and we are changing the culture of how we do business. In many instances we have vastly improved the delivery of services to county residents, but we have a lot of unfinished business that I intend to address wholeheartedly. I am passionate about making Cook County a more fair and efficient place to live and work. I appreciate all of those who have expressed confidence in me by urging me to run for Mayor, and I hope you will continue to support me going forward.”.

One of her campaign aides has been stirring this pot for months, even to the point of leaking this false info today

Preckwinkle is to release a statement revealing she is heartbroken over the decision today.

But she’s been saying publicly over and over for just as long that she isn’t running. So it’s really no surprise, despite that Sun-Times poll showing her beating Rahm Emanuel like a rented mule.

* Meanwhile

Karen Lewis’ potential bid for Chicago Mayor has moved beyond just a thought — it’s an “organic,” growing movement, the fiery Chicago Teachers Union president said.

Lewis revealed on Monday she already has an unofficial exploratory committee in the works, a chairperson has been named and her camp is working to have a representative in each of the city’s 77 neighborhoods.

Since an Early & Often poll released Sunday put Lewis at a 9-percentage-point advantage over Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Lewis’ phone has been ringing non-stop, she said.

“They’ve been coming from all over the country,” Lewis said in an interview Monday. “Facebook is blowing up. Twitter is blowing up.”

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of an “unofficial exploratory committee” before.

If she does run, I may have to move back to Chicago just for the theatrical aspect. For a profanity-laced take on it, click here.

*** UPDATE *** Mayor Emanuel…

“Toni Preckwinkle has been a strong partner in tackling many of the challenges facing Chicago neighborhoods, and an outspoken voice for criminal justice and pension reform. The unprecedented cooperation between the City and County has produced more than $65 million in taxpayer savings, a reformed workforce board that’s finding jobs for more Chicagoans, and expanded partnership to expand minority and women-owned businesses. I agree that we have more work to do together on these and other issues so that we can find ways to improve Chicago and Cook County for everybody.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


49 Comments
  1. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    Please run now Karen….

    The idea of an Illinois with a Governor Rauner and a Mayor Lewis is the very definition of entertaining…


  2. - A guy... - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    Preckwinkle is very smart. Wrong race. She can be a help to “whomever” she’d like to now. Lewis, not so smart. This would be a cockfight. Losing those is worse than most bouts.


  3. - William j Kelly - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 2:32 pm:

    I am sorry to hear that Toni has decided not to run, I was looking forward to hearing her ideas on moving Chicago forward. Williamjkellyforchicago.com


  4. - Because I say so... - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    Smart move on the part of Preckwinkle. She will get another term under her belt, more successes to run on and take out whoever is in the mayors office next go around. Personally, I think she’s an odd duck but she does seem to be doing good work at the County.


  5. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 2:38 pm:

    If she ran she would win. She must not want all of the heat that the Mayor’s office brings.


  6. - Jackson and Laflin - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 2:39 pm:

    Surprised this little charade of field-clearing didn’t last longer.


  7. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 2:40 pm:

    Smart move by Preckwinkle. If she lost, she’s stuck at Cook County forever.

    Now she has some flexibility to run in the future. As for Karen Lewis, if she runs the campaign rhetoric on her side and Rahm’s will be glorious.


  8. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 2:47 pm:

    A political junkie’s dream.


  9. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 2:54 pm:

    I think Lewis will run. What does she have to lose? There’s no downside.

    She certainly will put some of those lapdogs on the City Council on the spot.


  10. - Chicago - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    So after that poll, Rahm showed Toni his file on her and said get out now.


  11. - Jealous indeed - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:05 pm:

    Would/will be priceless if Karen runs, especially to watch Rahm have to sprint left to outflank her. Be nice to see the last 20 years of Democratic philosophy (Reagan Democrats, Clinton Republicans) match up with old Great Society Democratic philosophy that current Dem’s think they still own. Karen would lose, but it would be interesting to see Rahm attempt to “out-liberal” Karen, much the same way we see Republicans “out-conservative” their own opponents.

    Toni is class all the way. She’ll be mayor whenever she wants to be mayor.


  12. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:07 pm:

    You thought last winter’s Polar Vortex was bad?

    Wait ’til you experience the upcoming Lewis Vortex.


  13. - Steve - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:08 pm:

    No word yet on whether CNN is going to do a 10 part series on Cook County government/Toni Preckwinkle. If they do the series Preckwinkle will be represented by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment LLC. Rahm can put in the good word.


  14. - Chi - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:13 pm:

    Emanuel v Lewis would share many parallels with C. Quinn v. Di Blasio. Consider the Emanuel camp worried.


  15. - 3rd Generation Chicago Native - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:15 pm:

    I think she has has talked to Ms. Lewis, and knows something.


  16. - Chi - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:15 pm:

    Like Wordslinger says, Lewis has nothing to lose. Neither do her members.


  17. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:23 pm:

    “I think Lewis will run.”

    I also think she should run. It should be explosive politics. If Rauner wins, watch the fun begin.

    I spoke at an event with Lewis once, right before she was CTU president. It was at a inaugural event for a pro-union organization. The organization didn’t last very long, but a union leader and I went on after that to chip in a tiny hand and help Lewis get elected president (we delivered flyers to schools). She was the CORE candidate (a group of teachers and educators).

    I thought she gave a brilliant speech. I’d like to see her run. She seems intelligent enough, and if she is willing to compromise, like she seemed to be in the CTU-CPS negotiations, it could work.


  18. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:24 pm:

    I think Lewis will run. What does she have to lose? There’s no downside.

    True that, worse case she loses….


  19. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:28 pm:

    –Toni is class all the way. She’ll be mayor whenever she wants to be mayor. –

    She’s 67 — “whenever” doesn’t last forever.

    Is Emanuel/Lewis the “Webster” race?


  20. - The Captain - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:30 pm:

    What is the plausible chance that a Lewis campaign isn’t a daily foot-in-mouth circus?


  21. - Snucka - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:31 pm:

    This guarantees a second term for Rahm, unless some mystery candidate surfaces.

    Karen Lewis as a mayoral candidate is a joke.


  22. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:33 pm:

    –True that, worse case she loses…. –

    Point is, she’s not a habitual office-seeker giving up an office or afraid to lose.

    Worst-case scenario, she loses. but spends months smacking Emanuel in the mouth.


  23. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:49 pm:

    …spends months smacking Emanuel in the mouth.

    I am looking forward to this.


  24. - Steve - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 3:54 pm:

    Anyone who underestimates Karen Lewis does so at their own peril. Rahm thought their would never be a teachers strike under his watch and look what happened. Is Rahm ready to take on someone who’s much brighter than him? Can Rahm shake the image of the super-rich out of touch elitist that Karen Lewis will portray him??


  25. - The Prince - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 4:01 pm:

    Toni is not “class all the way” self-admitted socialist (google it for the chain-cites). They are importing voters. MS-13 coming in big time. It’s over.


  26. - MrJM (@MisterJayEm) - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    To:Prince,
    From: MrJM

    Re: Your medicine.

    Take it.


  27. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 4:05 pm:

    MrJM, you shoulda seen the one that didn’t make it through the screens. The one you saw, since deleted, was rather mild in comparison.


  28. - downstate hack - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    Karen Lewis is interesting but as a candidate I think she will be thrown to the wolves. Not enough class like Toni has.


  29. - paddyrollingstone - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 4:23 pm:

    Rich - Kudos for your use of one of my favorite phrases, “like a rented mule.”


  30. - walker - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 4:25 pm:

    Toni has had a lot of successes, in a job I once considered impossible. She’s done a wonderful job, so far, even accepting her critics’ views.

    The problem is that Cook Co, with its layers of problems and challenges, complexity, weird power relationships, and sketchy political characters over the years, has a way of catching up to even the best manager. If she’s going to get out for something bigger, she cannot wait forever.


  31. - Chris - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 4:44 pm:

    “She’s 67 — “whenever” doesn’t last forever.”

    Seriously–*even if* she wanted to run for mayor at 71, she would be older on Election Day than anyone the *serve* as mayor other than Richard J Daley.


  32. - olddog - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 4:45 pm:

    I hope Lewis runs. She can articulate the same issues as Mayor de Blasio in New York and Ras Bakara in Newark, and — maybe, hopefully — the “mainstream” media will have to repeat the soundbites.

    Teachers, organized labor and inner-city schoolchildren aren’t the only people who have been getting the shaft in recent years, and it can’t hurt to have another big-city mayoral candidate talking about it. Who knows? She might even win. Nobody would have put their money on de Blasio or Bakara when they started out.


  33. - Keyser Soze - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 4:47 pm:

    Emanuel v. lewis is a political cartoonist’s dream.


  34. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 5:26 pm:

    == If she does run, I may have to move back to Chicago just for the theatrical aspect. ==

    Need any interns for that race? It would be highly entertaining.

    “How many cups of coffee, sir?” lol


  35. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 5:27 pm:

    Or your intern. I could be your intern’s intern.

    Just as long as I can cover this race every moment of every day.


  36. - Assess - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 5:30 pm:

    Lewis woud shake up Chicago just as much or more than Rauner would do to Springfield.


  37. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 5:56 pm:

    If it happens, it will be interesting to see how much the anger toward neighborhood school closings translates into an anti-Emanuel backlash at the polls. I’m guessing it will be substantial.

    School closings generate high emotions, public or private, city or country. Add in the dangers of crossing gang lines, plus all the new money for shiny clouted charters, and you might have something very combustible.

    After getting the wink from Obama, Emanuel sailed to a pretty easy win with a strong vote in black wards. Carol did not win one precinct in the city.

    If Lewis runs, that ain’t going to happen this time, Obama or not. Emanuel has a record to defend now. Spin ain’t going to cut it with the people who’ve been dissed.


  38. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 5:58 pm:

    Wow–one thing’s for sure: Toni Preckwinkle can’t be accused of being a disloyal Democrat, not after lookin’ over those Poll Results from yesterday which show that she would absolutely CRUSH Rahmbo if she ran and the Election was held, well, a bit ago when the Numbers were accumulated…

    But take note of how CTU’s Karen Lewis, who was ALso well-ahead of Rahm in the Poll has issued NO such Statement…(I KNOW–whippin’ the same, little ‘ol fella who some actually have hinted is interested in the WHITE House–seriously, are you kiddin’)?!

    Now Mrs. LEWIS, to the contrary and to Rahm’s dismay (I STILL think the way he outright cursed at her (when she suggested lengthening the School day), using the “F” word did not sit well with a LOT of People in the City), may very well be SERiously considering jumping into the Mayor’s Race after reviewing those Numbers in her favor…!


  39. - Real Chicagoan - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 6:07 pm:

    William J. Kelly for Mayor (http://www.williamjkelly.org/): “Someones Gotta Sign the Bankruptcy Petition. It might as well be a Republican.”


  40. - ZC - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 6:10 pm:

    >> Lewis would shake up Chicago just as much or more than Rauner would do to Springfield.

    I’m going to apply the same standard to both challengers: put up or shut up. If Lewis has a basic plan for how to restore fiscal balance and justice to Chicago, let’s see the basic outline. Otherwise I will probably stick with the incumbent.


  41. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 7:54 pm:

    I have a list of eight people who can beat Rahm Emanuel.

    William Kelly, Karen Lewis and Bob Fioretti are not on it.


  42. - Steve - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 8:13 pm:

    The fact that Karen Lewis is beating an incumbent by 9% by a legitimate poll suggests Rahm is weak heading into the next election. Plus, a large segment of the voting public knows who Karen Lewis is. Chicago will probably get downgraded by Moody’s by next February: so Rahm isn’t going to have much good news to promote. Anyway, Karen Lewis has proven she knows how to campaign : look how she organized the teachers to strike. Don’t be surprised if Rahm doesn’t run. The odds are now against him. Incumbents with his negatives have major problems winning. Karen Lewis doesn’t even need that much money to win because she knows how to make news. Karen’s mouth is worth a lot more money than Rahm can raise for political ads. Rahm , the rich investment banker who’s for bailouts, against an African-American women. Nice optics for a party that likes identity politics. Good luck Rahm.


  43. - Chi - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 8:25 pm:

    YDD- Give us the list! Give us the list!


  44. - Independent - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 8:50 pm:

    @Steve: The $7mm and growing in Rahm’s war chest, his close friend’s newly formed Super PAC, and Clinton fundraisers say Rahm is most definitely in this race.

    Not surprised about Preckwinkle. She’s too cautious and measured to take on a race against a powerful Democrat. I do wish she would have stepped up against Daley. She could have beaten him in ‘07.


  45. - ZC - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 9:03 pm:

    >> Don’t be surprised if Rahm doesn’t run.

    Huh? What those of us with the political gene are rubbing our hands over, is we’ve got two potential candidates here who absolutely do not recognize the STOP sign.

    Of course will Rahm will run - all out. It’s the only speed he knows come campaign time. And I can fully believe Karen Lewis would run all out. May the better billy goat win.


  46. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 9:14 pm:

    What ZC said.


  47. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 9:24 pm:

    Emanuel’s not gong to be scared out a race, although I don’t think he wants to be mayor-for-life.

    And I don’t see any reason for Lewis not to go for it now. I think she’d relish the fight for itself, win or lose.


  48. - truthteller - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 9:16 am:

    CTU was already readying their political activists to take part in a number of alderman elections. Lewis as a candidate is a nightmare to many incumbents who sold out to the Mayor on the key issues of police protection, education (elected school board) and TIFs. Lewis has a credible institutional organization and over 30,000 teachers who would have powerful reasons to be heavily involved in campaign activities. I can’t imagine the fifth floor sees any other candidate as threatening as Lewis out there now that Toni has taken herself out.


  49. - Lawyer Near Me In Peoria Il - Friday, Jul 18, 14 @ 10:13 am:

    Very great post. I just stumbled upon your blog
    and wished to say that I’ve really loved browsing your weblog posts.
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