Mayor Richard M. Daley stunned the political establishment in Chicago this afternoon when he announced he would not be running for re-election in 2011. He has held the office since 1989 when he won a special election to replace Mayor Harold Washington.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Daley said “it just feels right” regarding his decision to not seek re-election. On December 26th, he will eclipse his father, Mayor Richard J. Daley, as the longest serving mayor of Chicago. The Sun-Times quotes his brother, William (Bill) Daley, on what is behind the decision:
â€œItâ€™s not Maggieâ€™s health or [the cityâ€™s] financial problems, unemployment or crime. Blaming this decision on the re-election campaign or fear he wasnâ€™t gonna win is silly also. All of the things you go to to find a reason, thereâ€™s bits of truth in all of them. Itâ€™s not one thing. Itâ€™s an accumulation of 21 years and looking, not just at an election, but the next four years in oneâ€™s life. Heâ€™s healthy. Heâ€™s got time to do other things â€” or nothing.â€
However, a poll commissioned by the Chicago Tribune conducted earlier this summer found:
The poll found only 37 percent of city voters approve of the job Daley is doing as mayor, compared with 47 percent who disapprove. Moreover, a record-low 31 percent said they want to see Daley re-elected, compared with 53 percent who don’t want him to win another term.
Now that Daley isn’t going to run for re-election, politicians who have previously suppressed their desire for the office are now thinking of running. Some of the names mentioned include Rahm Emanuel, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., a number of sitting aldermen, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, and Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan.
The announcement leads to two important questions. First, will the coalition that kept Daley in office and the Chicago Democratic Machine running start to fight amongst themselves? And, second, what will this mean for gun rights in Chicago and the State of Illinois?
I think the answer to the first question is absolutely yes. Alderman Ed Smith, considered the dean of the African-American alderman on City Council, guarantees that there will be an African-American candidate for mayor.
â€œIf we can raise the money, thereâ€™s gonna be a [black] candidate. Weâ€™re not short on people who can run this town and who would get in the race.
Probably the best analogy would be to Yugoslavia upon the death of Marshall Tito. Without a leader that could hold a coalition of antagoinistic factionsÂ together, the factions began to fight for power and control and the place fell apart. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is the same in Chicago.
As to gun rights, none of the potential candidates is going to be good for our side. However, they could be “less bad” than Mayor Daley. For example, Rahm “Never let a crisis go to waste” Emanual has described being Mayor of Chicago as his dream job. He saw what the impact of gun control did for the Clinton administration in 1994. When he was head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he recruited many “Blue Dog” Democrats who were pro-gun. I’m not saying he’d be pro-gun but might be less anti-gun than the present regime.
Sheriff Tom Dart came out against concealed carry in Illinois last year when SB 1976 was proposed. Obviously, Jesse Jackson, Jr. would not be good for gun rights but he may be damaged goods due to Rod Blagojevich.
I’d love to hear the comments from people who live in the Chicago area who might have a better feel for potential candidates and where they stand on gun rights.