CHICAGO — Another one bites the dust. A favorite, at that. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart left supporters with a bad news flash–he would not run for mayor of Chicago.
Oh, the shock of it all! Right before Election Day! The news exploded on Wednesday like a grenade that hit Chicago, the effects felt throughout Democratland.
Was Dart taking a dive? Unable to raise campaign funds? Seeing some handwriting on the wall? Certainly one of Mayor Daley’s right-hand guys and ever-so-popular favorite city son could not be considering this move. A definite front-runner among candidates for the “big job.” Say it ain’t so!
Well, I kind of knew this day would come. After all, Dart stayed quiet when Emanuel breezed into our town like a whirlwind from D.C. Indeed, he stayed mum; remaining in the shadows while the former Chief of Staff took front and center stage.
But Dart nixes those assumptions. Ex the money raising issues; Ditto to a lack of a substantial political fan base–Dart has his followers. The would-be mayoral candidate explains it’s a matter of “duty calls”–the duties of a husband and father that beckon the strongest over the cries for his candidacy. You have to commend the man for making the decision to turn down a chance to become Chicago’s head honcho.
“I was convinced that if I ran I could win as mayor,” Dart stated.
Dart relishes his role as father to five young children, desiring to be an integral part of their lives. An early poll taken soon after Daley’s announcement to step down showed Dart leading, along with Rev. Meeks, another popular choice among the voters. Taking on the job of mayor would mean to “be less of a father” to his kids, ages 1-9.
Clearly this man has his priorities in the right perspective. Cudos to Dart who was smart and did the right thing for himself and his family. Rahm Emanuel complimented the sheriff by pointing out he is “a good man.” Dart emphasizes his move won’t coronate anyone; Emanuel says his decision to run for mayor did not lead Dart to drop out.
Ald. Bob Fioretti, Gery Chico, and Miguel Del Valle, all mayoral seekers come February 2011, offered praise for Dart’s decision as well.
You have to admit Dart’s departure helps the party. It narrows the field, cuts down on vote-splitting enabling we, the voters to focus on a final set of candidates. “Any time a candidate gets out of the race, it changes the dynamics of the race,” Emanuel says.
Presently the race is wide open. It resembles a revolving door: the ones you expect to enter don’t (Dart); some try to enter but can’t (Jesse and Sandi Jackson); others just come right on in. And, the door keeps going around…
I’ve got a tune to commemorate this occasion. You know Bob Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff?” (Click on the link in case you forgot how the song goes.) Instead, sing: “Dart’s still the sheriff; but he did drop out the mayor’s race.” Are you singing? Well, alright! (Click here if you prefer Eric Clapton’s version.)
No deals. No passes. No hanky panky. Just a dad who wants to make a commitment to his family. An old-fashioned value that goes a long way in these days and times. I can dig where he’s coming from. I’m a family type, too. Yes, Dart will be missed on the Democratic ticket. An Emanuel–Dart showdown would have been quite interesting. But as we wait for the next political newsworthy event here in Chicago let us not forget: Dart’s still the sheriff. And for that, we can rejoice and be glad.
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