The Chicago mayoral election is still several months away, but talk of the race is already heating up.
Tuesday afternoon, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle made it clear she will not be running, despite speculation.
“I have decided to rule out a run for Mayor of Chicago in 2015 because I made a commitment to reform Cook County’s criminal justice system, transform our healthcare system, and ensure the viability of our pension system,” she said. “We are making progress, but we still have work to do.”
Meanwhile, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is taking the first step toward running for mayor by setting up an unofficial exploratory committee. She says she wants a representative in every Chicago neighborhood.
2nd Ward Alderman Robert Fioretti said today he plans to challenge the sitting mayor and anyone else on the ballot next February
Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement following Preckwinkle’s announcement saying,
“Toni Preckwinkle has been a strong partner in tackling many of the challenges facing Chicago neighborhoods, and an outspoken voice for criminal justice and pension reform. The unprecedented cooperation between the City and County has produced more than $65 million in taxpayer savings, a reformed workforce board that’s finding jobs for more Chicagoans, and expanded partnership to expand minority and women-owned businesses. I agree that we have more work to do together on these and other issues so that we can find ways to improve Chicago and Cook County for everybody.”