WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., told the Sun-Times Thursday he is “contemplating” a run for Chicago mayor, as the potential field swells in the wake of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s surprise decision not to seek another term.

“Who wouldn’t be interested in being mayor of Chicago?” Quigley said.

Quigley said he “loves” his current job with his two important committee assignments: on Appropriations, where he serves as a point person in the House for Chicago funding requests; and on the Intelligence panel.

Quigley’s profile has grown in the past year as the Intelligence panel has probed Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign making Quigley a sought after guest on national news shows.

But Quigley, a North Sider who served 10 years on the Cook County Board before coming to Congress also appreciates that these City Hall openings don’t come so often — so it’s worth thinking about. My guess is the November outcome — whether Democrats win control of the House — may also be a factor.

Quigley said a person jumping in the 2019 mayoral race should be more than “focused on one issue or just being anti-Rahm Emanuel.

“I am focusing on (what) we need to do and why the city is at a crossroad. And who can present a detailed, footnoted plan that moves the city forward in extraordinarily difficult times.

“But still presenting a plan for hope at the same time telling many people what they don’t want to hear, that there will have to be sacrifices. And there are going to have be a tough choices here because the city faces very difficult financial challenges. And difficult challenges of education. Very difficult challenges in safety issues.”

Quigley was first elected to Congress in a 2009 special election to replace Emanuel, who was leaving Congress to run for mayor. Quigley is virtually assured re-election in November in his heavily Democratic district, anchored in Chicago’s North Side.

One does not “make a decision in 24, 48 hours,” Quigley said. “You think about it for at least a week.”

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