With the filing deadline closed, the list of Chicago mayoral hopefuls ballooned Monday, the final day of filing nominating petitions for next year’s city elections.
In all, 10 people filed to run for mayor, including incumbent Rahm Emanuel.
Seven of them filed on Monday, including Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who turned in more than 63,000 signatures. William “Dock” Walls was the last filer at 5 p.m., according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
“I believe the city is not heading into the right direction, and I’ve heard that from people all over the city of Chicago,” Garcia told reporters after filing. ”The fact that we submitted the highest number of nominating petitions underscores the change people in the city’s neighborhoods would like to see Chicago take.”
Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) also turned in his petitions on Monday. His campaign brought in 55,523 nominating signatures. Fioretti made note of the financial battle facing him and every candidate going up against Emanuel, who has upward of $9 million in his campaign war chest.
“Our campaign doesn’t have millions of dollars to spend. What we do have is a vision for a better city – one that unites our neighborhoods rather than divides them,” Fioretti said in a statement. “A city with safer streets and stronger neighborhoods, where the doors of City Hall remain open to all Chicagoans, rather than a select few of the mayor’s friends.”
Last week, Emanuel filed on the first day possible, with 43,000 signatures.
More than 250 men and women have also filed to run for alderman.
Drawing the most interest was the 7th Ward seat vacated by Sandi Jackson, who is to begin serving a one-year prison term after her husband, Jesse Jackson Jr., finishes his sentence.
A total of 16 candidates filed for the Southeast Side aldermanic seat.
Only four alderman saw no one filing to run against them: Marty Quinn in the 13th, Ed Burke in the 14th, Brendan Reilly in the 42nd and Harry Osterman in the 48th.
Newly appointed City Treasurer Kurt Summers also gets a free ride. No one filed to challenge him by the close of the period.
In the mayoral contest, absent from the list of candidates is William Kelly, an agitator who plugged $100,000 into his campaign fund, blowing the caps in the mayoral race. It’s unclear what his aborted candidacy now means for contribution levels in the race.
“Although I am no longer a candidate for Mayor, I will be dedicating myself and my resources to a new campaign — a campaign to reform the Illinois Republican Party,” Kelly responded in an email.
Amara Enyia, a community activist from the city’s south side, also filed to run for mayor on Monday.
“Chicagoans want a strong, independent voice – someone not beholden to special interests or tainted by politics as usual,” Enyia said in a prepared statement. “Chicagoans are tired of the same players and their stale ideas that have only held the city back. The people want new energy, new voices and new ideas that can move us forward.”
When Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis announced she would have to bow out of an Emanuel challenge due to a cancerous brain tumor, union support went behind Garcia’s candidacy.
“We’re very proud of the hundreds of volunteers, approximating 1000 volunteers who were out in Chicagoland and in many, many neighborhoods throughout the city. It’s a reflection of the enthusiasm for my candidacy,” Garcia said.
“What I will be working to make happen over the next several months is to discuss Chicago’s gang and gun violence situation and ways to improve upon that through effective community policing and increasing the number of police officers on the Chicago Police Department. We’re also very concerned about schools. We want to be sure that schools in Chicago are good schools and that we invest in our schools and that we make schools the center of community life.
“I’m also concerned about job creation and job protection. Of course, we’ll also be tackling issues like ways to reduce the city deficit and the city’s pressing pension situation.”
The others on the unofficial mayoral ballot: Chicago police officer Frederick Collins, Fenton C. Patterson, Willie Wilson, former Ald. Robert Shaw (9th) and Gerald Sconyers.
A mayoral candidate needs 12,500 signatures to appear on the ballot. Serious candidates file several times that many to withstand challenges to their petitions.
The election is Feb. 24, 2015. A run-off election follows in April if no one candidate receives a majority of the vote.