It’s among the most memorable lines in a book full of spot-on observations: “A Chicago Rip Van Winkle could awaken to the political news columns and, reading the names, think that time had stood still.”
Forty-three years have passed since Mike Royko’s “Boss” described the local political scene in the era of Mayor Richard J. Daley. But familiar names again popped up on the new list of candidates for the City Council in the February election.
Patrick Daley Thompson filed last week for the open seat representing the Daley clan’s 11th Ward power base. He listed his address as maternal grandfather Richard J. Daley’s bungalow in Bridgeport.
Thompson’s campaign chairman is John M. McDonough, whose family has been tight with the Daleys for nearly a century.
Paternal grandfather “Big Joe” McDonough was a Cook County treasurer and 11th Ward alderman “credited with giving [Richard J. Daley] his start in politics,” the Chicago Sun-Times wrote in a 1968 obituary for McDonough’s father.
“His passing is a personal tragedy to me, for our families were intimately associated for 50 years,” Richard J. Daley said of McDonough’s father, who died while preparing to run for re-election as Circuit Court clerk 46 years ago.
And Thompson got a campaign contribution last month from a company owned by Tom Donovan — Richard J. Daley’s deputy mayor and patronage chief.
In the West Side’s 24th Ward, the 13 challengers taking on Ald. Michael Chandler include Michael Scott Jr.
His father was the city school board president under Thompson’s uncle — former Mayor Richard M. Daley — until Michael Scott Sr. was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound five years ago.
Lacking any well-connected family members, Scott rival LaDarius Curtis is trying to capitalize on his work ties to President Barack Obama.
Curtis was an aide while Obama was a U.S. senator and worked in a federal agency in the Obama administration. Some of his duties as a Senate staffer involved driving Obama around.
Now, Curtis hopes his aldermanic campaign in the 24th Ward will benefit from a fundraising letter by Pete Rouse. He was Obama’s interim chief of staff after Rahm Emanuel left the White House to run for Chicago mayor and before William Daley became Obama’s top aide.
“Like many of us, he was inspired by his experience working with candidate, Senator and President Obama,” Rouse wrote in his letter on behalf of Curtis’ campaign.
Not every aldermanic candidate can count on such help — even from blood.
Joe Lomanto, a candidate in the 41st Ward on the Northwest Side, is a younger brother of Chuck Lomanto, a longtime top precinct captain for 33rd Ward Democratic boss Dick Mell.
Chuck Lomanto once worked hard to elect Mell son-in-law Rod Blagojevich as governor and hoped to succeed Mell as alderman. Mell instead got Emanuel to let him bequeath the seat to daughter Deb a couple years ago, and she’ll be another legacy candidate on the city election ballot in February for the first time.
But the Lomanto brothers say Chuck won’t be working for Joe’s campaign. They fought in court over a hardware store and don’t speak any more.
“I’m not attached to the 33rd Ward or my brother, unfortunately,” Joe Lomanto says. “I hope Chuck won’t do anything to hurt me, my campaign or the ward.”