Potential Chicago mayoral candidate and Chicago Teacher’s Union president Karen Lewis is in the hospital dealing with a “serious illness.”
CTU held a news conference this afternoon offering few details on Lewis’s health other than to say her “serious illness” required surgery and she remains in the hospital.
“During President Lewis’ recovery, CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey will assume the duties of the president according to the rules set forth in the CTU Constitution and By-laws,” CTU said.
Lewis became ill Sunday has been through surgery at Northwestern and is recovering there at the hospital”
Those working to make Lewis Chicago’s next mayor say their mission has not changed. But short of that, there is still no official statement from her prospective campaign.
However, Lewis’ potential opponents shared a few words. 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti said in a statement, “My thoughts and prayers are with my friend Karen and her family. She is a fighter and I know that she will bounce back, stronger than ever.”
Mayor Emanuel also released a statement saying, “Karen Lewis is a passionate advocate for her beliefs and has always been willing to speak up for her view of what’s best … Along with all Chicagoans, we will keep Karen and her family in our thoughts and prayers.”
A small rally was held on the South Side Thursday evening urging the union leader to stay in the fight, both for her health and the city’s top job.
But given the uncertainty about her condition, some are already asking if the Karen Lewis campaign for mayor is over before it can truly begin. Political scientist and former alderman Dick Simpson says nothing’s over yet. “It is worrisome. Her campaign was just beginning to get momentum, and the exploratory committee process was working for her,” he said. “This is clearly a setback.”
There was no expectation that Lewis would officially declare her candidacy until after the November 4th elections. What this uncertainty does is make fundraising and endorsements difficult. To keep the unofficial campaign rolling, if that’s the plan, means clearing the air sooner rather than later.
But observers and her supporters, are quick to point out February 24th is a long way off.