In a city known for its political, ahem, character, fortunes can change on the turn of a phrase. That's why throughout the city election campaign season, Ward Room plans to bring you a weekly run down on who's up and who's down in the race for the city's mayor.
Check back on Fridays for updated odds.
RAHM EMANUEL, EVEN (NO CHANGE): On the plus side for Emanuel: James Meeks dropped out, making it more likely he’ll face a black candidate in the runoff. On the minus side, Emanuel spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s vacationing in Thailand. That helped him avoid the racially-tinged controversy over his endorsement by Bill Clinton. But remember, he also spent Thanksgiving with his talent agent brother in Hollywood. Emanuel’s jet setting reinforces the fact that he lives in a stratosphere of wealth and power unimaginable to 99.3 percent of Chicagoans.
GERY CHICO, 3-1 (DOWN): Chico is hurt the most by Meeks’s disappearance from the race. He was counting on a divided black vote to propel him into the runoff. His campaign insists he’ll inherit Meeks’s supporters because both have strong education platforms. Solidified his support in the Latino community by winning the support of two police officers’ organizations. Also, helped a guy get a job at a grocery store on Christmas Eve.
DANNY DAVIS, 4-1 (UP): Davis is the biggest beneficiary of Meeks’s withdrawal, which strengthened his claim on the title of consensus black candidate. Still unsuccessfully trying to get Moseley Braun to drop out. A summit, brokered by Jesse Jackson, fell through. Davis looked forceful protecting his turf against Bill Clinton, telling the ex-president that campaigning for Emanuel would hurt his reputation in the black community. But he may have turned off white voters who think he played the race card.
MIGUEL DEL VALLE, 25-1 (DOWN): Del Valle isn’t even trying to compete with Emanuel in fundraising. Instead, he’s promoting his penury as a virtue: the man who owes nothing to special interests is the man who can clean up City Hall. As part of his campaign to get supporters to send in $25 before the New Year, he proclaimed, “this election belongs to the people of Chicago, not the Hollywood fundraisers or city contractors.” You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight, and you don’t bring a change purse to a campaign against Rahm Emanuel.
CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN, 30-1 (UP): Surely Moseley Braun deserves some sympathy votes for serving as the straw woman for Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg’s attack on every black Chicago politician since Harold Washington. Moseley Braun retaliated by calling Steinberg a wife-beating drunk, which wasn’t exactly unfair, since he did write a book about it. Still a step behind Davis, though: she was a day late in telling Bill Clinton to stay out of the mayor’s race. Got in a good dig at Emanuel, calling him “an outsider parachuting into Chicago to buy an election.” As the last-place candidate, has nothing to lose by entertaining us with bon mots.
ED BUS, 1,000-1 (NEW): Bus’s odds would be higher if he or his 53rd Ward actually existed.