November 9, 2006

Chicago Mayor '07: Who will step up?

Jackson Jr., Gutierrez won't run for mayor
Congressmen Jesse Jackson Jr. and Luis Gutierrez have decided not to run for mayor, clearing Mayor Daley's path to re-election after nearly three years of scandal.

The decisions leave Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown and Bill "Dock" Walls, an aide to former Mayor Harold Washington, as the only challengers to a 17-year incumbent battered by the Hired Truck, city hiring and minority contracting scandals.

If Gutierrez and Jackson were looking for reasons not to challenge Daley, they found it in the political sea change that gave the Democrats control of Congress.

It means Gutierrez is in line to chair a powerful subcommittee on financial services and become a senior adviser to the Democratic speaker on immigration issues, his lifelong passion.

It gives new meaning to Jackson's position as Illinois' only representative on the powerful Appropriations Committee. He also could be in line to chair an Appropriations subcommittee.

Whatever leadership positions they assume, it's apparently more attractive than a costly and longshot campaign for mayor.

Congressional allies, Gutierrez and Jackson have both scheduled news conferences today to announce their decisions not to enter the Feb. 27 race.


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