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How Rahm Emanuel’s surprise might shake up Chicago’s mayoral race

6th Ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer, chairman of the Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

It’s already a crowded field but with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s surprising announcement on Tuesday that he won’t seek re-election, the mayoral race is wide open for others to jump in.

The field now includes former Chicago Police Dept. Supt. Garry McCarthy, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, former Police Board President Lori Lightfoot, community activist Ja’Mal Green, former CPS principal Troy LaRaviere, businessman Willie Wilson and tech entrepreneur Neal Sales-Griffin.

Ald. Roderick Sawyer, (6th), chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, said he’s considering a run.

“I’m talking to someone this afternoon just to talk it through,” Sawyer said. “I would be lying to you if I said I was not interested.”

Sawyer said he’s having conversations about “the greater impact of all of this, not just the personality.”

Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) said on Tuesday he’s also considering running.

Ald. Ameya Pawar speaks with guests before a Democratic gubernatorial debate at Whitney Young High School in October, 2017. | Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun Times

“I’m just not ruling anything out. Obviously, it’s something I talked about doing a couple of years ago and something that has always been a possibility,” Pawar said, adding the decision will be based on his family.

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) said he will not run. Ramirez-Rosa served a brief stint as State Sen. Daniel Biss’ lieutenant governor pick in the March Democratic gubernatorial primary. A spokeswoman for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he will not run.

Others who mulled a run for mayor could step back into the ring. Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer announced in July that she wouldn’t run for mayor. Gainer did not immediately respond to calls for comment on whether she’d reconsider.

Other names thrown into the political rumor mill on Tuesday included former Chicago Public Schools chair Gery Chico, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-IL, former Obama education secretary Arne Duncan, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd).

Contributing: Rachel Hinton


Video by Rahul Parikh

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