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Preckwinkle to announce exploratory committee Monday

Friday, Sep 7, 2018

* [Adding: WBEZ actually had this scoop, so I’ve changed the lead-in] Bill Ruthhart

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will hold an event Monday to announce she is creating a campaign committee to explore a possible run for Chicago mayor, sources familiar with her plans confirmed.

Preckwinkle has spent the last two days calling community members and potential campaign donors and asking them to stand with her at the planned news conference, which would come less than a week after Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced he would not seek a third term, the sources said. By launching a political fund and speaking publicly about a possible bid, Preckwinkle’s moves would represent the strongest signs yet of any new candidate contemplating an entry into the already crowded mayoral field.

* Shia Kapos

There are close to 40 names being batted about, but it’s Preckwinkle “who can put the fear of God in people” and keep others out of the race, as one strategist put it.

The Cook County board president has the broad support from African Americans, labor unions and donors. State Comptroller Susana Mendoza and Congressmen Luis Gutierrez and Mike Quigley have similar appeal. But Preckwinkle’s decision will likely determine how the next phase of the race plays out.

* John Byrne

During an interview Thursday with WLS-AM reporter Bill Cameron, Emanuel said higher-profile candidates are kicking the tires on getting into the race because they must not think much of the current 12-person field.

“I don’t want to play analyst, but since you asked, I’ll play analyst. Ow, my hands behind my back, ow, ow, ow, ow,” the inveterately political Emanuel said. “OK, here it is, so, look, if other candidates, just take Toni Preckwinkle, Bill Daley or Susana Mendoza, are thinking about this, it means they don’t think the other ones, who’ve been at this for five months, are a roadblock.

“They’re not — either on financial or intellectual or policy ideas – they have not created such an important speed bump to anybody else, at this point, getting in,” he said. “So that’s why I think we don’t know yet.”

Asked whether he was endorsing the possible candidacies of those three in particular, Emanuel added outgoing U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez to the mix.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

53 Comments »
  1. - Amy Rule's Wedding Dress - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 11:32 am:

    I don’t get it. Why leave a comfy job for what is sure to be a challenge (and that is putting it mildy) with Chicago’s finances in the next few years?


  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 11:35 am:

    Preckwinkle and Mendoza.

    They both have my attention.

    Dunno if either can win, or if either will run… but those two, those only two… have my attention.


  3. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 11:38 am:

    Preckwinkle might not always make a decision you like, but she’s got a track record of making tough decisions and sticking her neck for what she believes in. Unlike Rahm, she also seems to have some core values that aren’t for sale or switch depending on political winds.


  4. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 11:38 am:

    Emmanuel is dead on, he knows this better than anyone. My money is on Preckwinkle. Every political move she has made has been extremely measured. If she has a press conference, she is all in and I think she will win it. I don’t see Mendoza getting in if Preckwinkle does.


  5. - Larry - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 11:40 am:

    This time last year I was getting signatures door-to-door on the North Side for a state legislator and was expecting a hard time because of the state income tax increase. Instead, all anyone talked about was the county pop tax. I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve knocked on a lot of doors.

    I remember thinking: “Preckwinkle is toast.” Her polling numbers were bordering on Todd Stroger territory.

    Now she’s about to become the front runner for mayor — I think.


  6. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 11:41 am:

    ===Why leave a comfy job for what is sure to be a challenge (and that is putting it mildy) with Chicago’s finances in the next few years?===

    Cook County Board President is one of the most thankless jobs in politics. When is the last Board President to be elected to higher office? Ogilivie?

    No, the Board President just gets to raise taxes so that the Sheriff and State’s Attorney can spend it and grab headlines.

    She will be a formidable candidate if she ultimately gets in. And if you hated the pop tax, hang on to your hats because the city is in dire financial straits.


  7. - Pundent - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 11:41 am:

    I expected that Preckwinkle would likely announce. I’m not so sure about Mendoza. Interesting to here Gutierrez being mentioned. That’s definitely a wild card.


  8. - Fax Machine - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 11:44 am:

    If Preckwinkle takes the plunge, Mendoza won’t.


  9. - The Most Anonymous - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 11:46 am:

    @OW

    Do they have your attention because they have solid organization/support OR do they have your attention because you think they’re the only good, qualified two in the pack? Or all of the above?


  10. - NIU Grad - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 11:47 am:

    During her first term, one of the early issues she had was on the management side and she oversaw frequent turnover of senior leadership. I’m not sure if that has improved lately but running for Mayor would put much more attention on how her office and agencies have been run. It’s important to note that by all accounts she did not have serious opposition during her last election and she has not been accustomed to the level of scrutiny this race would bring (note that the top issues brought up are about high-profile tax issues, but not on how she has run her office).


  11. - NIU Grad - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 11:50 am:

    Basically, I have to wonder if someone out there has a folder full of opposition research and has been waiting for a time like this…I guess we’ll find out during the next two weeks.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 11:50 am:

    - The Most Anonymous -

    Thanks for asking me to clarify.

    I think they both can organize quickly, have a base of operation within the structure(s) of Dem politics, and they both are savvy enough to negotiate through a crowded primary to get into a runoff… which is the first and most important gold.

    Preckwinkle and Mendoza have the tools, that others either lack or have less in measure, to get to the runoff.

    That’s where they have my attention.

    With respect, and thanks.


  13. - Powdered Whig - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:09 pm:

    Who then becomes County Board President?


  14. - Because I said so.... - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:15 pm:

    I’ve been thinking since Rahm announced he wasn’t running again, Bridget Gainer must be kicking herself. If Preckwinkle goes for mayor, look for Gainer to go for County Board President.

    I really like Mendoza and I agree she won’t get in if Preckwinkle does. Mendoza is young ad has a bright future. She will end up in a higher office when the time is right.


  15. - lake county democrat - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:17 pm:

    As much as I don’t like her personally and reformers know she has a Pat Quinn like record of disappointing them, if Preckwinkle gets in I don’t see her losing. She has enough ties to the progressive wing to blunt that challenge, CTU and the unions love her willingness to issue regressive tax if that’s what it takes to make them happy, she’s not another white male, she has friendly ties to the Daley and Burke and Madigan, and the business community will welcome her. Mendoza, Vallas and Guitierrez would be outside threats.


  16. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:17 pm:

    She’s running for mayor. Why wouldn’t she? Nothing to lose, everything to gain.

    The GOP didn’t even appoint a candidate to run against her for county board prez, if you can believe that. She’s unopposed in November.


  17. - PublicServant - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:19 pm:

    Obama just gave one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard. He needs to travel around the country for the next two months and rouse people to get out and vote.

    Now, as Willy says, “To the post”: Preckwinkle has my vote if she runs. She’s sharp, politically astute and genuinely cares about working people.


  18. - Amalia - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:26 pm:

    ugh. Toni’s support of Berrios alone shows that she is not a reformer. perhaps this can put Bridget Gainer in the CCBd. Pres. seat.


  19. - The Most Anonymous - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:33 pm:

    Thanks, OW. This line really pops: “…they both are savvy enough to negotiate through a crowded primary to get into a runoff… which is the first and most important gold.” So true (as much as I wish it weren’t).


  20. - Steve - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:33 pm:

    If Chicago wants much higher taxes , Toni Preckwinkle could be such a candidate. Everyone knows about her Cook County soda tax. Preckwinkle could be the Mayor that gets Chicago a city wide income tax. If you think it can’t happen , other cities have an income tax like New York , Philadelphia , and San Diego. With some work from the Illinois state legislature , a city income tax could be the new revenue stream Chicago voters are looking for.


  21. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:36 pm:

    ===other cities have an income tax like New York===

    And a whole lot of towns in Indiana.


  22. - Rod - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:37 pm:

    Toni Preckwinkle would be the strongest candidate to bridge the white and black divide in my city. I believe she will not have significant opposition from the Hispanic community either. Her opposition within the African American community has come from Afro-centrists and some opponents of what has been called non-white gentrification based on her history as alderman of a ward encompassing a good part of Bronzeville that helped drive out some poorer Black residents. For the most part those higher income African Americans fully supported what Preckwinkle supported and they vote.

    I think the pop-tax opposition to her proposal for a Cook County tax was really driven by lower income residents and honestly athletically driven health consciousness north side residents don’t drink enough pop to worry about such a tax and they radically limit their own children’s consumption.

    I am unclear what she would do to improve our situation as it relates to the killings in the city. There is no question she would not be the favorite candidate of the Chicago FOP, but she has not been brutal to unions at the county level and will have support from labor. She does understand the fiscal situation and would be reasonably well received by municipal finance officers. She, like Emanuel did, will raise taxes, but that is inevitable.


  23. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:38 pm:

    –This time last year I was getting signatures door-to-door on the North Side for a state legislator and was expecting a hard time because of the state income tax increase. Instead, all anyone talked about was the county pop tax. I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve knocked on a lot of doors.–

    My anecdotal experiences were the same. In tavern talk, people seemed resigned or indifferent to the income tax increase, but were absolutely livid about the pop tax. Doesn’t make any sense, when you do the math.

    Yet, she won in a walk in the primary.


  24. - City Zen - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:43 pm:

    With Toni at the helm, Cook County has been running annual deficits over $650 million. In other words, she’ll fit into the mayoral office just fine.


  25. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:44 pm:

    Preckwinkle would be a decade older than Harold Washington when he assumed the job. Then again, she’s younger than David Orr, and he’s voiced interest in running.


  26. - WSJ Paywall - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:52 pm:

    =other cities have an income tax like New York , Philadelphia , and San Diego=

    Our neighbors in St. Louis and Kansas City do as well.

    As for Toni - While the pop tax stung, I think the animosity it inspired has faded somewhat since repeal.


  27. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:54 pm:

    The problem with Preckwinkle is that she’s a centrist Democratic establishment neoliberal who cuts county workers and a tax-loving socialist/left wing Democrat who would tax the air we breathe if she could.

    Other than that, she should be a decent candidate with great name recognition.


  28. - Colin O'Scopy - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:55 pm:

    =Yet, she won in a walk in the primary.=

    Against this generation’s Lar Daley or Ray Wardingly.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 12:56 pm:

    ===Against this generation’s Lar Daley or Ray Wardingly.===

    It’s college football season (thankfully)

    As they say…

    “I can only play, and beat, who is on my schedule”


  30. - a drop in - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 1:02 pm:

    Anyone expect Tom Dart to announce?


  31. - Roman - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 1:03 pm:

    There is no doubt that Preckwinkle is formidable…immediately the frontrunner.

    But she hasn’t been really tested since the beverage tax disaster. A year ago today her approval rating was a whopping 47 point underwater:

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/business/poll-voters-sour-on-preckwinkle-over-sweetened-beverage-tax/

    Will any of her potential opponents have the financial ability to remind the voters of this, and/or have voters forgiven her because the tax was repealed?


  32. - Krusty - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 1:06 pm:

    I’m hoping Valerie Jarret throws her hat in the ring. She’s smart, not beholden to anyone and, IMO, far more principled than Preckwinkle.


  33. - TominChicago - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 1:08 pm:

    I am pretty sure that we would need to amend the Illinois Constitution to permit Chicago to levy an income tax.


  34. - ZC - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 1:15 pm:

    It’s worth an addendum to the beverage tax disaster: basically every Commissioner who initially walked the plank with Toni and voted for the beverage tax (and to be sure, who then walked it back) kept their seat in the next election.

    Meanwhile the two Commissioners who spoke out the most in opposition to the beverage tax, and who played a leading role in getting it repealed, both were targeted and voted out of their seats in the next election.

    You can question Toni’s judgment but question her political coalition’s skills at your peril. She is the front-runner if she gets in.


  35. - ZC - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 1:19 pm:

    >> Basically, I have to wonder if someone out there has a folder full of opposition research and has been waiting for a time like this…I guess we’ll find out during the next two weeks.

    NIUGrad 11:50, heh, his initials are WC


  36. - SSL - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 1:22 pm:

    Preckwinkle would be a strong candidate, and as others have suggested, she is strongly principled. She would be an awful mayor, to the point where it would be devastating.

    For all his faults, Rahm was able to grow the business district. The downtown area remains vibrant, though increasingly dangerous. Preckwinkle doesn’t have those same skills, and without that, you’re going uphill all the way.

    I hope I’m wrong, but thinking of Soda Tax Toni as mayor doesn’t inspire confidence.


  37. - Ronny - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 1:25 pm:

    If you liked Rahm’s special brand of arrogance, then you are going to love Toni. This is someone who was able to keep a straight face for years while flacking for Joe Berrios and claiming to be a torchbearer for reform.


  38. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 1:34 pm:

    I don’t think Toni is friends with the business community. Think of all the retailers and restaurants that got mad at her soda tax, not to mention she brought back the penny tax over time. If she wins it will be easier for her to get the City to raise taxes as Mayor (considering rubber stamp aldermen) than the county as Board President. Also, she’s been pretty liberal towards people being arrested now and having them released or minimal to know bail, what will she be asking her new Chief of Police to do if she were mayor? I think if she wins there will be automatic animosity from FOP because they all ready hate her release policies. She used to be a teacher, maybe she will be very friendly to CTU, which then just means more taxes.


  39. - Driving a car - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 1:38 pm:

    Of the top tier of candidates (Quigley, Mendoza, Luis, Toni) I have her as the lowest — which makes it incredibly keen for her to dive in first before the other 3 can get their ducks in a row.


  40. - Rod - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 1:42 pm:

    City Zen its true about county deficits, it’s also true rescinding the pop-tax cut the potential revenue stream. The County carries a huge burden for those in poverty in Chicago and for jailing criminals along with those waiting trial who can’t make bail.

    If you live and want to live in the City of Chicago you have to accept the reality of continuing tax increases. Clearly some cuts were made in county government, but other cuts to county health care effectively will kill people. There are limits to what is possible in Cook County in terms of budget reductions.

    I believe President Preckwinkle also will fully support an elected school board and largely remove that issue from the Mayoral agenda. She can mumble about the need for good public education in Chicago without having any responsibilities in that area.


  41. - anon2 - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 1:45 pm:

    Both Preckwinkle and Mendoza are on the November ballot. Yet Mendoza is more reticent to talk about running for mayor than Preckwinkle. The difference may be that Mendoza has an opponent, and Preckwinkle doesn’t. But the principle is the same. Both are on the ballot seeking re-election for their current offices, while positioning themselves to immediately run for a different office that, if they win, would require them to resign from the office they will be re-elected to.


  42. - Montrose - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 1:54 pm:

    *Both Preckwinkle and Mendoza are on the November ballot. Yet Mendoza is more reticent to talk about running for mayor than Preckwinkle. The difference may be that Mendoza has an opponent, and Preckwinkle doesn’t. But the principle is the same. Both are on the ballot seeking re-election for their current offices, while positioning themselves to immediately run for a different office that, if they win, would require them to resign from the office they will be re-elected to.*

    It’s a pretty big difference. I bet most folks don’t even know Toni is up for reelection this year.


  43. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 1:55 pm:

    –Both are on the ballot seeking re-election for their current offices, while positioning themselves to immediately run for a different office that, if they win, would require them to resign from the office they will be re-elected to.==

    Like Washington and Daley in 82/83, and Daley again in 88/89.

    Not a dealbreaker, obviously.


  44. - peteypablo - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 2:14 pm:

    The business community wouldn’t back Preckwinkle. While voters quickly forgot about the soda tax after the repeal the folks representing them did not. However, if she jumps in the race i don’t really see them being able to find a candidate, who would have a real shot, that would be as focus on downtown as Rahm.

    I’d still love to see Gutierrez put his name in bid. He is more thoughtful that the other list of potential “big names”.


  45. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 2:20 pm:

    ==And if you hated the pop tax, hang on to your hats because the city is in dire financial straits==

    Maybe she could hire the guy on the bicycle from the 1980 “Popeye” movie, and change her title from “Mayor” to “Commodore”. Her campaign slogan could be, “When the cow stops giving milk willingly, you just have to squeeze the teat a little harder”.


  46. - Michael Westen - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 2:39 pm:

    The greatest polling company on earth We Ask America has Preckwinkle at 4.6% in the Mayor’s race. That’s not going to put the fear of God into anyone.


  47. - A - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 2:43 pm:

    I’m a D who wants a candidate who will raise taxes as a last resort, not a first resort. Toni? Sorry but she deceived all of us with the killing the Stroger tax gambit and then jacking it back up in the dead of night. Please no Toni. No. No. No.


  48. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 2:53 pm:

    ===and Daley in 82/83, and Daley again in 88/89.

    Not a dealbreaker, obviously.===

    Totally agree, but in Daley’s case, there is a risk in thinking that what worked for him (twice) will work for someone else. Running for two offices simultaneously is a very tricky maneuver with a high degree of difficulty.


  49. - Pundent - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 2:54 pm:

    ==I’m a D who wants a candidate who will raise taxes as a last resort, not a first resort.==

    We’re well past that point. The city, much like the state, is in dire straits because they kept taxes way too low for far too long. Whoever takes over for Emanuel will have no choice but to confront this reality.


  50. - Board Watcher - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 2:57 pm:

    Mendoza will never get in if Preckwinkle does, because she would get trounced. Also if Preckwinkle dosent, Mendoza still loses. She has a big opinion of herself but not so liked by party insiders.


  51. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 3:07 pm:

    –Totally agree, but in Daley’s case, there is a risk in thinking that what worked for him (twice) will work for someone else.–

    Worked for Daley, once (88/89). Worked for Harold in 82/83, when Daley finished third.

    You have to wonder if Chuy is considering it. Why not? Unless you think Mark Wayne Lorch has a shot in November.


  52. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 3:13 pm:

    ===You have to wonder if Chuy is considering it.===

    There have been so many trial balloons floated since Tuesday that the FAA is adding a new tower at O’Hare.

    For Chuy, (or Mendoza or Preckwinkle), this is the political equivalent of the Triple Lindy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDMMYT3vkTk


  53. - Veil of Ignorance - Friday, Sep 7, 18 @ 4:43 pm:

    My biggest concerns with Preckwinkle are (1) how easily she plays ball with the Machine wing of the party and (2) how risk averse she is politically. Chicago has huge racial inequity issues and it’ll take a brave political leader (not Rahm’s faux toughness) and efective communicator to lead Chicagoans in addressing these deep seated problems.


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