Robert Shaw: 'I must be a political genius'

Written By Chad Merda Posted: 07/25/2014, 12:33pm

Robert Shaw doesn’t have a crystal ball, but he says all along, he knew Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle wouldn’t run for mayor — even though an exclusive Sun-Times poll showed she was up by 24 points against Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“Eventually she’ll get out,” Shaw told the Chicago Reader. And 10 minutes later, news came that Preckwinkle announced she was bowing out of the race before it even started.

Shaw then pounded the table.

“What I just tell you?” he said. “I must be a political genius.”

Shaw, who has already declared his candidacy for mayor, shrugs off the people who have laughed at his bid from the moment it started.

“Why shouldn’t I run for mayor?” he says.

The Chicago Reader interview takes a look back at Shaw’s political career that has spanned a half-century, including one major misstep in 1983, when he underestimated the force known as Harold Washington.

Instead, Shaw supported incumbent mayor Jane Byrne and ended up getting swept out of office along with her.

“By the time Harold announced, I’d already given my word to Byrne,” said Shaw. “And I paid the price.”

He immediately began his political rehabilitation. “I apologized to the people—every chance I got.”

For now, Shaw and his campaign is banking on one thing — Chicago’s runoff system.

In that same Sun-Times poll that showed Preckwinkle stomping all over Emanuel, showed Shaw would easily lose — but would steal enough votes to keep Emanuel from getting 50 percent of the vote, forcing a runoff.

“I think I’ll be in it,” Shaw said. “I was right about Preckwinkle, wasn’t I? Well, you’ll see—I’ll be right about this.”


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