CHICAGO — For a while now, political operatives and city hall observes have speculated about more veteran politicians exploring a run for mayor next year.
Enter former governor Pat Quinn.
He’s polling a possible mayoral bid and he’s willing to discuss city issues.
For Quinn, a savvy politician with decades of experience, a Memorial Day stop at the Rhine VFW Post 2729 on the Southwest Side felt like testing the 2023 mayoral waters.
“I live in Chicago. I was born in Chicago. I’ve lived in the same house for 39 years. I’m concerned about our city,” he said.
Concerned enough to conduct polling for a potential run for mayor. One reported question was “If the election for mayor was between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Quinn which candidate would you support?”
Asked if he was going to run, Quinn said, “I don’t know about that. I think the next couple of months I’m going to talk to a lot of people across Chicago and participate in events, including petitions drives and we’ll see.”
Quinn’s polling is studying property taxes and other voter concerns.
“I think it’s important that we focus on some issues that have been overlooked in Illinois and several here in Chicago including safety,” Quinn said. “But also making sure consumers and taxpayers are put first, not wait at the end of the line.”
Whether or not Quinn runs, the race for Chicago mayor is starting to take shape. Already in the 2023 waters: Alderman Raymond Lopez, businessman Willie Wilson and State Representative Kam Buckner. And Lightfoot will soon formally launch her bid for a second term.
Quinn has been a fixture of state politics since the early 1970s leading petition drives to reduce the size of the Illinois House and change how lawmakers are paid. He served as State Treasurer, Lt. Governor and Governor.
Quinn hints his experience could be useful at City Hall. He bills himself as a fixer.
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“I was the governor of Illinois for six years. Illinois is a lot bigger than Chicago and I think I navigated our state through some very tough times, tough economic times, tough budget times,” he said. “Definitely we had to clean things up after Blagojevich and George Ryan. So I know how to get the job done. And I want to do whatever I can to help the people of Chicago, my city, go forward.”
Quinn won’t say whether or not he thinks Mayor Lightfoot should get a second term only that he hopes she makes good on her promise to work to enact term limits.