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Short List: Top Contenders for Mayor



    Short List: Top Contenders for Mayor
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    In 1985, White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, received his M.A. in Speech and Communication at Northwestern.

    Mayor Daley announced in a brief news conference Tuesday that he wouldn't seek re-election.

    From the failed Olympics bid, to the low poll numbers, to the parking meter snafu and the rampant crime, the mayor's going out when he's weakest. Meanwhile, the gaggle of formerly weak-seeming would-be candidates are likely licking their chops -- but who's going to get a seat at the table? We handicap the top contenders below.

    Tom Dart
    One of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People, Dart's been doing everything right. He's been the go-to guy from reducing his jail budget to fighting gangs. He's had a press conference every other week, meaning his face and name are out there -- albeit attached, sometimes, to rather unfortunate news.

    But Dart has served in the state legislature, so he's no stranger to politics. And what's more, he has the ur-powerful 19th Ward organization on his side. He's the white man's white man. If he decides to run, he'll be the strongest local contender.

    Rahm Emanuel
    Of all the potential candidates, Rahm Emanuel certainly has the most clout. Rahm indicated he was interested during a Charlie Rose interview, then denied he was running to MSNBC. Since then, he's openly communicated his desire to be mayor on several occasions -- and reportedly to Mayor Daley himself.

    Emanuel would flourish in the mayor's seat. Despite his cheeky image, Emanuel is a devoted Machine Guy. In 2002, when other Clinton Administration veterans were overreaching by running for governor or senator, Emanuel took the humbler step of running for Congress. Daley endorsed him, sending in the South Side heavies to hand out palm cards on Election Day. Rahm Emanuel would be Daley 2.0.

    James Houlihan
    Assessor Houlihan isn't running for re-election in his own office, but he's long expressed a desire to go higher. In a concise email, Houlihan's press secretary said Tuesday that "Assessor Houlihan is very interested in running for mayor."

    Scott Waguespack
    The 32nd Ward announced his intention to run for mayor back in July, arguing that he was fed up with Chicago corruption -- “People are fed up,” he said, pointing to the Hired Truck Scandal, as well as scandals in city hiring and minority contracting. “They’re tired of the old way. Their pocketbooks are tired of the corruption and waste. The bad economy has exposed the weakness of his style of business.” Waguespack's biggest bona fide is his vote against the parking meter deal. But, then again, he also represents the 32nd's progressive white community, which could be too small a base for a general election.

    The problem with aldermen, however, is they never seem to make it when running for mayor. And recently, Waguespack began denying rumors he was positioning himself for a run, saying he was focusing on securing his Aldermanic seat. But with Daley gone? Open question.

    Every Alderman Ever
    From Moore, to Riley, to Munoz, to Solis, every single alderman is likely licking their chops. Of the 50, 25 are probably wondering if they should get their petitions together. And they should. Not that it will help.