As a political tsunami roars through the Chicago mayoral race, the parlor game in the city’s political crowd boils down to one question: who wins?
But this being Chicago, everyone knows that just because Emanuel is out today, does not mean he will remain out tomorrow.
"Emanuel will have to spend the next several weeks trying to get back on the ballot," said former alderman Dick Simpson. "It also raises the issue again for voters if Emanuel is really a Chicagoan. Does he really love us in his heart like Mayor Daley does?"
Still, the day dawns Tuesday with a very different ballot scenario. And that means a raft of candidates who are very unfamiliar to a large number of the electorate.
"Forty four percent of the voters now have no choice," said former alderman Martin Oberman. "Where are they going to go?"
He believes Emanuel was carrying such an air of inevitability that many voters had never examined the others in the race. Now, with the election just one month away, those candidates will get new and sometimes uncomfortable scrutiny.
"The other candidates have all been in the single, or very low double digits," Oberman says. "That means most people have not been paying attention to them."
He points to a possible scenario where new questions are raised about Carol Moseley Braun’s rocky tenure in the U.S. Senate and Gery Chico’s longtime ties to City Hall.
"Del Valle has been sort of a hero to the reform and liberal community. But a lot of folks in that community have been supporting Emanuel. And they say, 'We’d rather have Del Valle than the other two.' I think we don’t know."
There is another, very unusual, scenario. Early voting begins in a week. What happens if Emanuel wins a challenge and is reinstated after the voting starts?
"What do you do with the people who have already voted," Green asks. "How do you count their ballots when there's a guy in the race who you couldn’t vote for?"
And if Emanuel stays out?
"There's almost a guarantee of a runoff," he said. "So now you’re running for one and two."
"There has never, ever, been anything, as unique as this," said Green