The nearly 21-year reign of Richard Daley in Chicago is coming to an end.
Tuesday, the mayor of Chicago – the country’s third largest city – announced he will not be running for reelection. At a press conference at City Hall surrounded by his wife and children, Daley said of his choice, “It just feels right.”
“Many of you will search to find out what’s behind my decision,” said Daley. “It’s simple. I have always believed that every person, especially public officials must understand when it is time to move on. For me that time is now.”
But for a job that hasn’t been competitive in two decades, Daley’s decision throws open the door to wide speculation as to who will run to replace him.
Dr. Larry Sabato, director of University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and someone with a reputation for accurately predicting the outcome of campaigns, says his money is on White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
“I’d be surprised if he isn’t running,” Sabato said in an interview with The Daily Caller. He also pointed out that in the past, Emanuel has said his current position is one he would only hold for about 18 months.
“Well, we’ve hit the 18-month mark,” said Sabato, who gave three other reasons why a bid from one of the most powerful men in Washington and a master of the Chicago political machine is likely.
“He’s close to Daley, he’s expressed interest, and the position isn’t open very often,” said Sabato. “It’s just so perfect.”
James Merriner, former political editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, told TheDC he too thinks a run from Emanuel is imminent. Merriner also pointed out that Daley’s timing for his announcement may have been strategic.
“It’s kind of a nasty thing to do,” said Merriner. “There’s only about 10 weeks left to file to run, which makes it easier for established politicians.” Moreover, the primaries take place in February 2011. That doesn’t give lesser-known candidates much time to organize a successful campaign.
“And if we take him [Emmanuel] at his word, he would take advantage of this opportunity,” Merriner said.
Emanuel will be in Chicago this Sunday for a fundraising event.