The candidates are coming from every direction. Already two aspiring hopefuls have taken the spotlight, emerging as early front runners in the first poll taken with a wide open field of politicos desiring to head the Midwest ‘mega-town.”
Although its way too early to make any predictions, two popular insiders, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and state Sen. James Meeks have taken the lead among the many potentials who are seeking the top position as mayor of Chicago. The poll was conducted by the Chicago Sun-Times, together with McKeon and Associates.
Here’s how the mayoral candidates lineup in the poll: Dart takes 12 percent and Meeks trails closely with 10 percent, the only runners to earn double-digits. Closely behind them, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, with nine percent, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., getting eight percent, along with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel rounding out the top five.
The candidates belong to a diverse field that represents many different constituencies in Chitown. Different political positions. Different walks of life.
It’s the first open-seat mayoral election in more than 60 years. The kind of stuff that promises to make this one of the most exciting elections in a long time here in Chicago.
Watch for these potential runners: City Colleges Board Chairman Gery Chico with six percent, CTA Board Chairman Terry Peterson, posting four percent, and Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan and Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), both collecting three percent.
From the looks of the poll, it’s still any man’s race at the moment.
Chicago voters may find themselves in a quandary with so many qualified hopefuls to choose from. Perhaps the greatest percentage of the poll, 35 percent of Chicago voters, don’t have a clue right now who should fill the seat of Mayor Richard M. Daley, the city’s leader for 21 years. There are many worthy names out there vying for the post, so the selection offers quite a variety for city voters.
Add to that the fact that Chicago voters have not been without an incumbent on the ballot for a mayoral election since 1947. That’s right, 1947. Quite a long time. That was when Mayor Edward Kelly had to step down due to scandal that marred his term, bringing in winner Martin F. Kennelly, to take his place at City Hall and run the city.
I saw Daley in a TV interview last night. Already the lame-duck mayor looks relaxed and ready for a change. With a warm smile, you can see he is happy to step aside and let someone else run the city. It was a big decision on Daley’s part to let go and allow fresh blood and new ideas to flow into the mega-metropolis. It is also an opportunity for Daley to remain active doing things that will bring him self-fulfillment , plus a sense of satisfaction. But his heart will always be for the city he loves.
Due to the number of contenders in this mayoral election, voters can expect a ballot with a lot of choices. Plenty of names. And, many who have served Chicago dutifully. Projecting to the February, 2011 election, my prediction would be Chicago voters will face a runoff election come April 5.
In fact, voters should brace themselves– be prepared to go to the polls not once, but twice in 2011. Many are called and running, but only one will be chosen. Candidates, take your mark. Get set. Go!