Karen Lewis Discusses Possible Mayoral Run

Chicago Teacher's Union president expects to make decision by August

Chicago Teacher's Union president Karen Lewis spoke Friday about the possibility about running for Chicago mayor in 2015.

NBC 5 first reported Thursday that Lewis met with election attorneys about a possible run.

Lewis is out of town, but spoke via phone about a potential campaign against incumbent mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"Everywhere I go, people are talking to me about how unhappy they are about the direction of the city in a variety of different ways," Lewis said.

In a mayoral role, Lewis would switch from being a union leader to a negotiator of contracts with other unions.

"It's not just about negotiating contracts, it's about having a vision for the entire city. I'm not seeing that happening right now," Lewis said.

University of Illinois professor and political strategist Dick Simpson believes Lewis would be a strong challenger.

"The African American vote could be a beginning base. She would have to reach out though to the white and Latino communities effectively. It's not clear all the labor unions would support her, if they would, it would make a major difference," Simpson said.

Emanuel already has more than $7 million in his campaign fund, along with a new Super Pac raising money as well.

"There's no way I'm raising $7 million, $10 million or whatever million he raises, but money doesn't vote, people do," Lewis said.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has also been courted to against Emanuel, but she has said no -- for now.

Lewis is expected to make a decision by August, but until then will conduct a listening tour throughout the city as she weighs whether to run.

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