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Paul Vallas ‘seriously considering’ mayoral run against Rahm Emanuel: report

Former CPS CEO Paul Vallas speaks with reporters after a City Club of Chicago debate in August 2015. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas is considering a run for mayor against Rahm Emanuel in the 2019 election, according to a Wednesday report in Crain’s Chicago Business.

“I’m talking to friends and family about whether this is something we want to do and can do,” Vallas told Crain’s. “I’ve always sought public service challenges. And there’s no greater challenge, I believe, than those that Chicago faces today with jobs, schools, public safety. That said, there’s a lot to think about before making the decision.”

Vallas, who led CPS under former Mayor Richard M. Daley from 1995 to 2001, could not immediately be reached by the Chicago Sun-Times for comment.

Vallas has earned a reputation as a crisis manager, taking over the New Orleans school system after Hurricane Katrina and working to rebuild schools in Haiti following its devastating 2010 earthquake. He also led school districts in Philadelphia and Bridgeport, Connecticut.

In his previous political forays, Vallas lost a close race to Rod Blagojevich in the 2002 Democratic primary for governor, and he was Pat Quinn’s running mate in his ill-fated 2014 re-election campaign against Bruce Rauner.

Last year, Rauner tapped Vallas to help turn around the struggling Chicago State University as chief administrative officer.

Vallas joins former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy as a potential mayoral candidate with strong name recognition mulling a run at Emanuel. Former CPS principal Troy LaRaviere was the first candidate to officially throw his hat in the ring.