Karen Lewis Lays Groundwork for Possible Mayoral Run - NBC Chicago
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Karen Lewis Lays Groundwork for Possible Mayoral Run

CTU president says she's filed financial paperwork, plans to circulate petitions, but hasn't made an official decision



    Karen Lewis Lays Groundwork for Possible Mayoral Run

    8/19/2014: Karen Lewis speaks to a crowd at a "Conversations with Karen" event in the 19th Ward. (Published Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014)

    Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis continues to sound more like a potential mayoral candidate in her latest public appearance.

    Lewis spoke before potential voters at a "Conversations With Karen" event Tuesday at the Beverly Woods Banquet Hall in the 19th Ward.

    It's the third in the "listening tour" series she promised to embark on before making a decision on whether to run in next year's election.

    "I will decide when I have certain things in place, and those thing are, primarily, the three things you need to run a campaign. You've got to have money, you've got to have people and you've got to have time, so I want to run things on my timeline," Lewis said.

    Karen Lewis "Seriously Considering" Run for Mayor

    Karen Lewis "Seriously Considering" Run for Mayor
    8/7/2014: Karen Lewis appears to be closer to throwing her hat into the ring for Chicago mayor. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern reports.
    (Published Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014)

    The potential candidate did say she had filed the necessary paperwork Tuesday in order to comply with campaign finance laws in Illinois.

    She also plans to start circulate petitions to voters to gauge whether there's interest.

    "The decision is going to be based on what the people want, and if they want, they'll sign petitions and say, 'We want Karen Lewis to run,'" Lewis said.

    Karen Lewis Defends Six-Figure Salary

    [CHI] Karen Lewis Defends Six-Figure Salary
    8/13/2014: Karen Lewis answers questions about her over $200 thousand dollar a year income and real estate holdings. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern reports.
    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014)

    Lewis acknowledged she can't compete with incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel's $8 million war chest, and figures it will climb even higher.

    "The good news is the majority of people who have the money who will be voting for him won't be able to vote because they won't live here," Lewis said.

    After some nudging from moderator Walter Jacobsen, Lewis said she figures she'd need anywhere from $4 million to $7 million or $7 million to $10 million to compete.

    On Tuesday, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten said Lewis would have the backing of the AFT if she decided to run.

    "We haven't made any decisions at this point, but given that Karen Lewis is our sister, a labor activist, and these kind of elections are really important. In a race like this, spending up to a million dollars would not be unprecedented for the AFT," Weingarten said.

    Lewis also said noted that her husband, who was previously resistant to the idea of her running, is supporting a potential campaign "because he understands history" and would "never stand in my way."