As I mentioned on Twitter last week (and on this blog last year), I suffer from mayoral race envy, for I live in a town that hasn’t seen a competitive contest since Richard Daley was elected 19 years ago. This jealousy was only heightened by listening to the Guardian’s special Politics Weekly podcast on Boris Johnson’s electoral triumph. Rather than leave Chicago, I’ve begun to imagine what a real 2011 mayoral election might look like.
Obviously, should Mayor Daley decide to (or, pending ongoing corruption investigations, not be able to) run for re-election, he will be the favorite to be re-elected. Whether or not that would be the best thing for the city, it is not a particularly exciting prospect for a political junkie daydreaming about 2011. So let’s ignore him.
After Daley, any list of 2011 candidates begins with two Congressmen who came close to challenging Daley last year, Jesse Jackson Jr. and Luis Gutierrez. As Walter Jacobson pointed out on Chicago Public Radio,, and as was pointed out here, one of them could end up being our next Senator– of the two, I’d bet on Gutierrez. City Clerk Miguel Del Valle has been turning up at several benefit dinners in the Loop this spring, and I trust that it’s not due to a love for rubber chicken and weak coffee. I’d place Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool into a non-Daley second tier with Del Valle. Two wild cards who may be better off waiting for 2015, are SEIU favorite Ald. Sandi Jackson (Jesse’s spouse) and States Attorney nominee Anita Alvarez. For a wild, wild card, let’s toss U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s name into the ring.
February 2011 seems like a long ways away, but it will be here before you know it.