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CTU chief Lewis is campaigning all right — against mayor

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has ruled herself out of a 2015 mayoral campaign against Rahm Emanuel so often that nobody even bothered to ask her again Monday after a big City Club speech in which she threatened to “send him into early retirement.”

Lewis is campaigning all right.

She’s campaigning against Emanuel. She’s campaigning for a better deal for her members in their ongoing pension reform negotiations, and she’s campaigning for new taxes to fund schools and take the pressure off the union to accept benefit cuts.

But the plain fact is she doesn’t intend to be a candidate for mayor herself, and those yearning for an alternative to Emanuel will need to look elsewhere.

It was the continued curiosity about the intentions of the only major public figure in town with a track record of successfully challenging Emanuel that helped pack Monday’s luncheon.

Lewis opened her speech with an anecdote from her childhood in which her father lectured: “Never lose your focus, Karen. There’s a reason your eyes are in the front of your head.”