Labor Leaders Meet to Reach Consensus on Chicago Mayoral Candidates

Days after Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced he would not seek a third term in office, NBC 5 learned Thursday that labor leaders held a special meeting as they look to unify behind a single candidate in the race.

The meeting brought together 20 members of the Chicago Federation of Labor’s executive board. While a consensus wasn’t reached, some members are pushing hard for the board to support Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

In the last mayoral race, Preckwinkle opted not to take on Emanuel, but now sources are telling NBC 5 that her political team is talking to campaign staff, making phone calls, and polling Chicagoans about a potential run.

Preckwinkle’s ties to labor and to the Democratic Party in the city, of which she is the leader, could work in her favor, but her support of the county’s controversial soda tax could negatively impact her candidacy if she chooses to jump into the race.

The head of the CFL board says that they will not make a decision on whom to support until the field is more well-defined in the coming weeks and months.

Other candidates are also looking to potentially jump into the race, including County Commissioner Chuy Garcia, who lost to Emanuel in 2015. Garcia is currently running for Congress, and is looking to replace Representative Luis Gutierrez, who could also join the crowded field.

Garcia has not said when he will decide about a potential run, but Gutierrez says that he will make a decision by the weekend, as time comes for petitions to be circulated in the race.

A pair of other potential candidates, including Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, have both said they will not run for the office.

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