Chicago Mayoral Candidates React To Emanuel Bombshell

Steve Miller
September 04, 2018 - 3:47 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's bombshell announcement he's not seeking re-election has the other candidates for the city's top job talking about their campaigns -- and the potential for other competition.

Mayoral hopeful Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor and ex-president of the Chicago Police Board, said Emanuel's announcement Tuesday doesn't change the needs of people across the city -- a city, she says, where violence is far too prevalent. 

Lightfoot was asked whether she is concerned the big campaign contributions would go to another, previously unanncounced candidate. 

"Look, to be the mayor of this city, you need to have courage, you need to have strength and you need to be able to bring people together," she said at a news conference. "Many of us have been out here for months, making our case to Chicagoans.

"And anybody who decides to jump in and take advantage of today's political news -- I think a fair question to ask them is where they've been."

Emanuel, who was considered the frontrunner despite his political baggage, said his decision to retire from the mayor's office is a family decision.

Another mayoral contender is former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, whom Emanuel fired in the wake of the scandal over the shooting of teen Laquan McDonald. 

Garry McCarthy (WBBM Newsradio/Craig Dellimore)

McCarthy, like Lightfoot, says several problems, including a rise in violent, remain for city residents.

He said Emanuel's decision may allow people who were afraid to support his candidacy publicly may now feel differently.

As for Paul Vallas, the former Chicago schools chief, he said: "I'd like to think my chances are better."

Like McCarthy, Vallas said he may now get support that he otherwise would not have gotten, with Emanuel out of the picture.

"I think there may be some elected officials who I've worked with over the years who know my track record, who would be open to supporting me now," he said at his own quickly convened news conference.

Vallas said he had heard rumors recently that Emanuel would not run for a third term.

Paul Vallas (WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller)