Let the Fun Begin
It’s the day after the election, and let the campaign begin. Yes, that’s right, less than four months to go before a historic Chicago mayoral election. Just when you thought you were spared more political ads. Let’s take a look at what we know, and what we don’t know.
We know that Chicago and Illinois are even more decidedly Democratic, with the Pritzker-led sweep across all the statewide offices as well commanding results in congressional and legislative elections. The next mayor will be a Democrat if there was ever a doubt.
We know the story of this election was turnout, especially in Chicago and Cook County. In the city, it was the highest voter turnout for a midterm election in 32 years. Those who voted were of all ages, turning on its head the notion that young people don’t vote.
And we know that choices abound regarding who will be the next mayor of Chicago. It will be a daunting task just to sort out who’s who. From the political establishment, we have the Cook County Board president, the brother of a former mayor, the chief of staff to the former mayor, and presumably the newly-elected state comptroller, just to call out a few. From a different direction, we have the former Chicago police superintendent and the former head of the Police Board who led reform efforts. There’s even a young community organizer backed by Chance the Rapper. It’s enough to make your head spin.
What we don’t know is who will make it through the petition effort and survive expected challenges. The filing deadline is Nov. 26 and the City’s Board of Elections will certify the ballot on Dec. 20. Election day is Feb. 26, when likely no one will reach 50 percent plus one. A second round with the top two finishers would be April 2.
Even if several declared candidates fall off, it will be the most crowded mayoral election in anyone’s memory. That opens up all sorts of questions. Who will capture the attention of newly energized voters, especially millennials? Who can break out from their lane to build a winning coalition? How much attention will people really be paying on a cold Tuesday in late February?
The new mayor will have one thing Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not have for the last four years and that’s a Chicago Democrat as Governor. Let’s hope whomever wins can build a true working relationship with the new Governor and tackle the real problems facing all Chicagoans.