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Chicago alderman floats his name for yet another office

Tuesday, Nov 29, 2016

* Just a few months ago, Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar was floating his name for a mayoral bid. Now he’s publicly mulling a race for governor

Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar, who five years ago pulled off a historic upset with his against-the-grain aldermanic campaign to defeat a machine candidate, is now looking to do the same on a bigger platform. […]

With $58,000 in his campaign account, Pawar, who would run as a Democrat, said he doesn’t fear taking on incumbent Republican millionaire Gov. Bruce Rauner, who reported $188 million in income last year.

“In 2011, I ran for office and people laughed at me. I took on the machine and I beat it,” Pawar said. […]

“We’ve had a set of politics pitting one group of people against another. I don’t think that’s productive,” he said. “I think it’s time we have a progressive campaign for governor.” […]

“When I won in 2011, four weeks before the election I had $2,000 left from the $7,000 to 8,000 we started with,” Pawar said. “We ran the most shoestring campaign you’ve ever seen. Since then, I’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. I feel I can raise money to be competitive. … There’s a tendency to throw a bunch of money at the problem, throw money at the airwaves and crucify one another. There isn’t a lot of going out and talking to one another.”

Pawar did beat a machine candidate, but he did that with lots of door-knocking. A statewide bid is an entirely different level of campaigning, however. You can’t just go out and talk to people one-on-one and expect that to work. You have to raise big bucks, like it or not. Statewide is about wholesale, not retail.

Mayor Emanuel lives in Pawar’s district, so it’s almost assured Pawar will be tagged with the “Rahm’s alderman” moniker. It goes without saying that Emanuel is one of the least popular politicians in this state.

* From earlier this year

He readily admits that he’s fundraising and that he’s interested in replacing Rahm Emanuel—should the mayor decide not to seek a third term. If Rahm does run again, Pawar, born in Evanston to immigrants from India, says he won’t challenge him. He credits Rahm, his constituent, for helping him on many of his legislative accomplishments.

Again: “Rahm’s alderman.” As if being an alderman in a city that has huge financial and crime problems isn’t bad enough.

* Pawar has limited himself to two terms, so that’s why he’s looking around for something else to do. But he already seems to be breaking a promise he made in August...

“What I’m not going to do is spend the next three years scheming for a higher office, any higher office. I think the problem with that is that you’re rooting for someone else’s failure so you can take their job. I’ve never run a negative campaign. I find it odd that the principle campaigns are run on is to destroy the other person; to make yourself look better by making the other person look bad.”

* He does have a progressive record to run on, though

In his five years in City Council, Pawar counts among his successes the towing bill of rights, directing $40 million in TIF funds to schools and libraries in his ward, the licensing debt collectors ordinance, anti wage theft ordinance, and more.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:43 am:

    –With $58,000 in his campaign account–

    …he’s short about 3 zeros.

  2. - The Captain - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:46 am:

    Alderman isn’t exactly the path to higher office. Maybe County Board President as Preckwinkle and Stroger were able to but off the top of my head I can’t think of any other alderman who parlayed that office into higher office since the 90’s when Rush, Davis and Gutierrez were all elected to Congress. There isn’t a well-worn path here and you’re not going to win a Governor’s race with an intentionally underfunded statewide campaign strategy.

  3. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:46 am:

    There’s no way…Pawar is liked in city politics, and has been a strong alderman with his constituents, but he does not have a presence outside of city lines. I’ve figured he would want to run for Mayor in the future if Rahm doesn’t (although the machine might anoint a different successor), or angle for a different office. This probably just riles up the base, gets him attention from hitting the Governor (which he has already been doing), and raises fundraising interest if he angles for a different office. No way he’s pulling off a statewide bid now…

  4. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:47 am:

    Dear Ald. Ameya Pawar,

    Read the story of Icarus, the re-read the story of Icarus.

    While I grant you a Wheaton Trustee slipped and fell her way into a statewide office… accidently… tripping all over yourself to go from municipal “legislator” to statewide officeholder is fraught with an Icarus ending.

    I am amused with the term limit proxy, allowing ambition a free turn due in large part by ending your options within where you are.

    The sun is hot, the sea is dangerous, Icarus, remember that.


  5. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:49 am:

    Rahm’s Alderman, indeed.

    And all it takes is another Chicago Democrat to split the vote in the primary for this to fail.

  6. - Dan Johnson - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:50 am:

    In other words, a successful independent legislator in the city council who believes in term limits enough he actually practices what he preaches *and* the adult in the room for paying our bills to buy good public schools (he advocated for a higher property tax years ago in order to pay for good public schools). Universally liked and builds concensus by listening to all sides. And not wealthy (like most people). Somehow those are negative qualities to Rich? They sound compelling in these days of growing debt from a failure to find consensus.

  7. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:51 am:

    ===Somehow those are negative qualities to Rich?===

    I love you, Dan, but don’t ever put words in my mouth.

  8. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:52 am:

    =The sun is hot, the sea is dangerous, Icarus, remember that.=
    excellent advice.

    Durkin and Radogno might want to give that a read as well.

    I think they will eventually get burned by the “sun” and fall into the see.

    They are of no more use to the “sun” than a doorstop.

  9. - Stuart Shiffman - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:52 am:

    After the events of this political year I will never rule out anything as a possibility in politics. And I certainly will view anything the pundits tell me with substantial slepticism.

  10. - Sillies - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:53 am:

    I am one of his constituents. He’s been a very good alderman, incorporating local community input in his decisions and operating an efficient office. In recent months, he’s become more strident and has demonstrated that he may become much more partisan than was apparent in his emergence, at least in social media. Hopefully, in whatever role he takes going forward he will recall the spirit of collaboration and hopefullness that launched him into public service.

  11. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:57 am:

    @DJ- I read Rich’s comment differently.

    It is not about Pawar’s qualities, I agree with you that they are desirable and admirable.

    The going rate for a gubernatorial campaign is $60 million.

    A dynamic, special candidate can get by with less, but that $60 million figure is sure to go up, so not much less.

    Pawar is not well known outside of Chicago, to win you need to be.

    Like Ron Burgundy stated, he needs two more zeros behind that $58,000.

    For starters.

    That is just reality.

  12. - Rocky Rosi - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:59 am:

    I just don’t understand these politicians sometimes.

  13. - Roman - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:01 am:

    As the Dem field expands, the likelihood of Pat Quinn being nominated grows, too.

  14. - Not It - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:05 am:

    Speaking of Alderman who had hoped to run statewide next turn, here is another one whose hopes have been dashed by the age old desire to use public service for personal gain.

  15. - illini - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:06 am:

    It is always interesting to see names being floated to run against BVR.

    I only have 2 questions -

    How much $$$$ can you raise, and
    How will you campaign and poll Downstate among Dems and Independents ?????

  16. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:08 am:

    How come only the effective politicians follow the term limits promise? Agree that he is getting a bit over his skis with the talk of a run for Governor and his options may be limited with his outsider status and lack of open seats in higher office.

    Perhaps he can articulate with some specificity what his vision is for a platform? There is none right now from Democrats other than Rauner is bad and everything before January 2015 was great and nothing needs to change.

  17. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:08 am:

    I see the campaign poster now….”PAWAR to the People!”

  18. - Rollo Tomasi - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:10 am:

    As long as the voters south of I-80 and West of I-355 come out and vote he has no chance.

  19. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:12 am:

    He won’t raise enough money from this to run for Governor, but this raises his stature for a Chicago or Cook County office and may bring enough funds for that. Regardless of where he’s from, I just can’t imagine a Chicago Alderman winning a statewide office without a buffer office. Maybe City Treasurer if Summers moves on up?

  20. - A guy - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:14 am:

    So far that list of Dems running for Governor is not creating any seismic activity. Carry on.

  21. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:14 am:

    Rahm has obstacles to a successful run for Mayor… money isn’t one of them…a decent challenger will make for an interesting race…

  22. - Dan Johnson - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:20 am:

    Ok Brother Rich - but the way you phrased his unique term limits promise seemed negative to me.

    My two cents.

  23. - Amalia - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:26 am:

    he’s not Rahm’s guy. He should run for Mayor.

  24. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:29 am:

    ===…nothing needs to change.===

    Again, no one is suggesting that and no one who doesn’t agree with Rauner automatically is someone who doesn’t want change.

    Tying FIRST to any budget “reforms that have no measure in budgetary processes or balancing is holding hostage a state. The status quo now is $10 billion in back logged bills, projecting out to $13+ billion by summer. That’s the status quo now.

    To the Post,

    Usually “Alderman” IS the stop at the end, until County Board or Comgressional sirens call for a change, as others have said above. When you paint yourself into a corner, you look for a window… you just hope you’re on the ground floor

  25. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:36 am:

    “Comgressional sirens call for a change”

    I wonder how popular Quigley is with city Dems…

  26. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:48 am:

    OW, the Democrats have had almost two years to present their vision of change from the status quo in January 2015.

  27. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:53 am:

    - Lucky Pierre -

    I’ve stated as late as yesterday my feelings on Democratic messaging. Use the search key, get back to me.

    To the Post,

    If this is a fundraising ploy to maybe run for Mayor, for example, it’s makes little sense to float a premise of running for an office that seems further out of reach than the office desired. It makes more sense to raise funds for in the politics, offices reasonable, then pivot to Mayor.

  28. - ChicagoVinny - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 10:54 am:

    I live in his district, and I’d vote for him.

  29. - IrishPirate - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 11:01 am:

    Pawar should run for mayor. Easier to run an underfunded campaign citywide than statewide. Depends on how many people run against Rahm. Dart, Madigan, Gainer and others are all potential candidates.

    Pawar is a serious wonk. He should run.

  30. - Roman - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 11:14 am:


    You just shot your Chicago street cred to pieces by calling your ward a “district.”

  31. - Snucka - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 11:14 am:

    I live in his Ward. I love him and would vote for him for almost any office. That said, he would not make it out of a primary for governor. Hoping he waits for a mayoral opening.

  32. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 11:20 am:

    As others have said, Alderman to Governor doesn’t make a lot of sense. Mayor does, and I think there is an opportunity for someone to take on Toni Preckwinkle in a primary, but that someone would have to probably run to the center of her and against her tax hikes. Not sure that Ald. Pawar is the guy for that job.

  33. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 11:25 am:

    If Dart threw his hat in the ring, Rahm would have a race to deal with…

  34. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 11:26 am:

    Unless a wealthy candidate emerges the Democratic nominee will need to rely on the DGA for a lot of help. This will result in D.C.-style vetting and protocol. All of these pronouncements are just that.

  35. - W Flag - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 11:39 am:

    Pawar also ran in a ward where the Machine sponsored incumbent had been in office for about thirty plus years (bowing out to seek another office unsuccessfully) and the area had undergone significant gentrification. Not a comparable for statewide office.

  36. - ChicagoVinny - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 11:42 am:

    @Roman yeah yeah I was typing fast.

  37. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 12:10 pm:

    Another constituent here. I like my alderman where he is and can’t fathom being able to raise the $$$ or his brand outside of Chicago in order to beat BVR.

  38. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 12:40 pm:

    W Flag - previous Alderman Gene Schulter retired and did not seek a higher office. Pawar beat relatively unknown machine candidate Tommy O’Donnell.

  39. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 1:03 pm:

    I’m not sure Ameya is a statewide type of candidate. I can’t see him being good at - or enjoying - big rallies and getting people fired up during a long and brutal campaign.

  40. - Snucka - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 2:28 pm:

    That last one was me. My deepest apologies for the anonymous post.

  41. - Aldemuvs - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 3:13 pm:

    Hilarious that he’s credited with the “licensing debt collectors ordinance” when the State of Illinois already requires a Collection Agency to be licensed. NY and Buffalo only have their ordinances because there is no State of NY license.

  42. - A guy - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 3:25 pm:

    He seems like a good guy. The old party bosses would look at him, consider his ballot name and take their chances running him for national office first. Things are improving. But the stars really have to line up to make any progress on this.

  43. - Grand Avenue - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 3:26 pm:

    Gene Schulter sought appointment to higher office, but he did not run for it. When Joe Berrios left the Cook County Board of Review to become Assessor, Schulter wanted to get the Board of Review appointment from Chief Judge Tim Evans. It went instead to Mike Cabonargi.

    Speaking of Mike Cabonargi - he’s got 10 times what Pawar does in the bank - what’s his next step?

  44. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 3:40 pm:

    ===Speaking of Mike Cabonargi… ===

    That you brought up…

    Appointed Board of (Tax) Review, a board that Madigan might “practice” in front of for tax appeals?

    Oh boy…

  45. - W Flag - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:40 pm:

    @Lucky Pierre:

    You are correct. I was typing too fast. Schulter attempted to secure an appointment to the Board of Review (a county position) and was not selected for the vacancy. He bowed out of politics afterwards. Schulter expected the appointment and was disappointed when he was passed over.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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