More Chicagoans than ever before want to be mayor, aldermen and other city officials. When the doors closed at 5 p.m. Monday, 20 had filed for mayor.
State Sen. James Meeks, who is out with the flu, was among the last to file. He sent his election lawyer, Burt Odelson, to file for him.
Odelson said Meeks, who announced his candidacy with fanfare two weeks ago at the University of Chicago Forum, had some 50,000 signatures.
Perenial candidate Dock Walls filed, as did commercial real estate developer Tommy Hanson.
As for challenging Rahm Emanuel's residency, Odelson said he has supporters for that -- though Meeks is not one of them -- and plans to file a challenge on Wednesday. Odelson said the problem rests with Emanuel's renter.
"Physical presence trumps intent," he clarified.
And now the intrigue is even more curious as that renter has filed as well for mayor. Rob Halpin, a self-described amateur politician, arrived late in the afternoon with 20, 000 signatures, more than 8,000 more than needed.
"If this is a fair process, I think I'm in," he said.
Halpin claims to have the support of some Chicago aldermen, but won't name names.
"I believe I've been approached unofficially by some aldermen through some in-between people. I believe the phone is going to start ringing tonight," he said.
Several of Sen. Roland Burris' supporters arrived with signatures in a draft Burris movement. Burris will be out of a job as of next Monday, when Sen.-Elect Mark Kirk is sworn in.
"We thought he should be mayor, he's the best qualified candidate," said Tony Randle, adding that Burris told him "by all means, go for it," but didn't say positively he will run.
Emanuel, former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, former Chicago school board president Gery Chico, Chicago City Clerk Miguel del Valle, Rev. Wilfredo De Jesus of the New Life Covenant Church and M. Tricia Lee all filed their papers prior to Monday.
"I'm just really fed up with the politics of the city," said De Jesus.
If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in February, the top two vote-getters will advance to an April runoff.
Additionally, more than 200 people are interested in running for Chicago aldermen with some nine incumbents choosing to retire. More than 150 of them filed on the first day.
There's injured police officer Jay Mullen interested in the 41st Ward, who said he's still "very capable of doing this job."
"I'm not sick. I'm injured," he said.
Rapper and Hip Hop Artist Che Rhymefest Smith filed his petitions for the 20th Ward, saying the folks in his ward "want someone who is visible, who serves their needs."
Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) arrived with petitions for both alderman and city clerk while her husband, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., waited outside.
Jackson said she'll make a final decision by next Monday which race she's actually interested in.
"We're going to talk this over over turkey dinner and we'll let you know," she said.
State Rep. Susannah Mendoza also filed for city clerk, unphased by Jackson's interest,
"The more the merrier," is how she sees it.
Alds. Dick Mell (33rd) Patrick O'Connor (40th) and Brandan Reilly (42nd) appear to be uncontested in their seats.
The election is Feb. 22, 2011.
Download: "Unofficial" Candidate List (.pdf)
*Note: The candidates are currently listed alphabetically and not how they will appear on the ballot.