Former Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy, who was fired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel during the Laquan McDonald fallout, officially announced Wednesday night his mayoral bid.
After months of speculation and rumor, McCarthy cleared the air in a video posted his website GarryForMayor.com.
“It is no secret that Chicago is on the wrong path. This administration has brought us our failed education system, the overwhelming tax burden on hard-working people, and the violent crime that plagues the entire city," McCarthy said in a statement.
He said thousands of Chicagoans have approached him over the past year and encouraged him to fix the city's problems.
"Under the current administration, we've heard nothing but broken promises from City Hall," he said. "When our Mayor focuses on politics, and not problem solving, none of us can move forward."
He said it's time for new leadership to bring the city together and after "urging from my supporters, commuity leaders, and my family, I am officially announcing that I am running for Mayor of Chicago."
In December, McCarthy said he was evaluating a potential run, saying he felt he could do a better job leading the city than the current mayor.
“The best way to put it is that I’m a public servant. I’m not a politician,” he said at the time. “I’ve learned a lot from people like Rudy Guiliani, Cory Booker, and yes, Rahm Emanuel. I think one of the things is that I can unpack a problem, put it back together, and learn how to make it better. That is not what we are doing in Chicago.”
With Emanuel up for re-election in 2019, numerous names have floated as potential contenders to unseat him. While some, including former candidate Commissioner Chuy Garcia, have moved on to other chances at office, McCarthy’s potential candidacy has turned plenty of heads and generated plenty of interest even in the absence of a formal declaration of interest by the former superintendent.
“It’s definitely gained momentum, let’s put it that way,” he said. “This isn’t something I would have initiated on my own. Other people have been pushing me in this direction. It got to the point where they gathered more steam, put together the exploratory committee, and they’re raising money. We’re going to do some in-depth polling, which will help make the decision one way or the other.”
McCarthy believes that crime is a significant issue in Chicago, but also feels that violence is just one part of a complex web of problems that needs to be addressed in the city.
“All the issues are intertwined,” he said. “There’s a study that shows for every shooting we’re losing 70 people from our population. I think I know how to fix a lot of these problems that we have.”
Despite decreasing shooting numbers this year, McCarthy says there is still plenty more than can be done to stem the tide of violence that has been the subject of a slew of national press.
“In the two year period since I was fired, there were 1401 people murdered in the city of Chicago,” he said. “If you remember in 2013 and 2014, we were on the verge of breaking 400 people in the other direction. That’s a 70 percent increase in two years. We compare these statistics year over year, but the bottom line is that we still own last year.”
McCarthy moved to Chicago when Emanuel chose him to be the city’s police superintendent in 2011. After serving in the position for four years, he was fired by Emanuel in the aftermath of the Laquan McDonald shooting by former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke.
"With your help, I will humbly work in service to this city, each and every day,” he said Wednesday.