Is there a challenger who could beat Rahm?

Written By Posted: 07/03/2014, 04:30pm

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said she’s “a little sick of the mayor” and “seriously thinking about running.”

Last week at the Chicago City Club, Cook County board president Toni Preckwinkle refused to rule out a mayoral campaign.

And Ald. Bob Fioretti is still mulling over his options.

But even with dismal poll results for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, could any of them beat Rahm?

The Chicago Readers’ Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky have laid out what each of them — should the run — have to do to take down the mayor.

For example:

Toni vs. Rahm

“Preckwinkle is Emanuel’s most formidable potential opponent. The mayor is unpopular in black and Latino areas hit by school closings, city budget cuts, and stubbornly high violent-crime rates. Preckwinkle, who’s African-American, has strong support in those same neighborhoods. But in winning the county job in 2010, she also collected votes from thousands of whites who continue to embrace her no-nonsense style and sales-tax cuts. For better and for worse, she’s also a political operator who’s not above muscling aside foes or forging alliances with old-school pols.”

Karen vs. Rahm

“Lewis might be able to win if she forges a coalition like Washington’s: almost all the black voters, half the Hispanics, and 20 percent of the whites, nervous Nellies or not.”

Bob vs. Rahm

“Fioretti’s best bet would be if Preckwinkle and Lewis bowed out, leaving him as the only elected official still willing to go after Emanuel. Then he could hope for an outpouring of anti-Rahm sentiment—sort of the way Jane Byrne beat the machine in 1979, though Fioretti won’t want to remind anyone of how she then joined the machine upon taking office.”

Karen v. Toni v. Bob v. Rahm:

This is as good a time as ever to remember that Chicago has a runoff system. That means that if no single candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in February’s election, the top two finishers will face off in April for all the marbles.


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