‘He’s in it to win’: Paul Vallas joins mayoral race

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Former Chicago schools CEO Paul Vallas is expected on Monday to officially announce his candidacy for mayor of Chicago. | Sun-Times files

It’s a go!

Paul Vallas, a former Chicago Public Schools CEO, is throwing down the gauntlet.

Sneed was the first to report Vallas, who was hired as a fiscal budget whiz during the administration of Mayor Richard M. Daley, will formally file his official mayoral bid with the Illinois State Board of Elections on Monday.

The kicker: Vallas is doing so on April Fools Day! (They are planning to file electronically late Sunday night.)

“Why not?” said legendary election law attorney Burt Odelson, who is Vallas’ election lawyer.

“Paul Vallas is not fooling around,” Odelson tells Sneed.

“He’s in it to win!”

OPINION

Vallas, who is calling his campaign “Paul Vallas for Chicago,” now joins a contentious list of candidates — including Chicago’s former top cop Garry McCarthy — hoping to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“The filing will include a list of Vallas’ mayoral campaign officials,” said Odelson, which includes retired Cook County Circuit Court Judge Marilyn Johnson as chairperson of Vallas’ campaign and Dean Vallas, Paul’s brother, who will be treasurer of the campaign committee,” said Odelson, who was the election lawyer for Richard M. Daley during his successful first bid for mayor.

“I believe Paul can find the solutions to help Chicago’s crime, budget and school problems without the gross involvement of politics,” said Odelson.

“We may be coming to a time when many progressive groups come together and do the right thing,” he added. “I’m going to invest myself in Paul and help him through this process of getting on the ballot; winning outright in February or getting into the runoff.”

Sneed hears Vallas — who was invited weeks ago by mayoral hopeful McCarthy to a hush-hush sit-down to discuss their mutual enmity of Emanuel — has also conferred with McDonald’s franchise millionaire Willie Wilson.

Sneed also hears McCarthy had a private campaign chat with potential mayoral contender Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer.

Their collective goal: to force Emanuel into a runoff.

“If that happens, I beat him,” a confident Vallas told Sneed earlier.

Faced with Emanuel’s bulging campaign chest, Vallas has yet to raise the bucks — although McCarthy’s campaign chest is not even close to having a bump.

Vallas, who had little time to raise money and tragically had to deal with the recent death of his beloved son, Mark, plans to file campaign contribution disclosures within the month.

• Backshot: Vallas resigned as head of the Chicago Public Schools before his announcement to run for governor against Rod Blagojevich. Vallas, who was appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner to help restart a financially beleaguered Chicago State University, also announced he was stepping down from the spot earlier this year. It was a clear indication he was planning a run for office, and a reminder of what he has done politically in the past: not hold a public job while running for public office.

The Peterson file . . .

The disappearance of convicted wife murderer Drew Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, never seems to disappear.

Now comes word Stacy’s sister, Cassandra Cales, who has been desperately searching for Stacy since her disappearance in 2007, is not only talking to sonar divers in Texas in hopes of finding her sister’s body in the Sanitary and Ship Canal, but has taken out a GoFundMe account in hopes of financing the expedition in order to resurrect the body.

“I want to bring Stacy home,” Cales said in an earlier interview via phone with Sneed.

At last peek Wednesday, Cales had raised $200 toward her $250,000 goal.

Cales insisted to Sneed recently she found asking for money distasteful, but she maxed out her credit cards and savings trying to find her sister.

The royal wedding . . .

Ms. not Miss: No doubt gorgeous American-born Meghan Markle will sparkle when she weds Britain’s Prince Harry May 19 in London, but in addition to being the British royal family’s first interracial marriage, the couple’s coveted wedding invitations also contain another first: Markle, who is divorced, was addressed as Ms. instead of Miss.

Another instance of the traditional stuffy royal household keeping up with the times?

Sneedlings . . .

Congrats to attorney Joel Brodsky and wife, Elizabeth, on their 20th wedding anniversary, which they celebrated with Chef Bruno Abate at Tocco restaurant. Who else would put up with you, Joel? Just kidding. . . . Today’s birthdays: Adam Gase, 40; Scott Wilson, 76; and Elle Macpherson, 54.

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