The Chicago Mayoral election will be the most interesting political race in Illinois since the 2004 U. S. Senate Primaries. Of course, that is damning with faint praise.
2006 - 2010 Illinois election lowlights
Were the 2006 Republican or Democratic Gubernatorial Primaries in Illinois of much interest? Not so much. The 2006 Gubernatorial general election contest between Blagojevich and Topinka? Gimme a break- a sociopath crushed an accordion player. The 2008 U. S. Senate Race between Dick Durbin and Doc Sauerberg? A real snoozer. The 2008 Presidential race in Illinois? Was there one?
Illinois' 2010 Republican and Democratic gubernatorial primaries were somewhat interesting, but the general election contest, while close on election day, was about as interesting as watching the paint dry. Any others of real interest? Not really. The same assessment of general dullness applies to Illinois' 2010 U. S. Senate race and primaries.
The good old days of 2004: Sex, lies and politics
Illinois' 2004 U.S. Senate Democratic Primary, on the other hand, had three contenders (Obama, Hynes and Hull) with significant resources, a political base or organization and a message-- to varying degrees (not to mention sex, lies, drugs and the courts); two candidates who many pundits thought would be contenders (Chico and Pappas) and two candidates with no chance to win but who added spice to the mix (Washington and Skinner-- a political junkie's version of the spice girls).
The 2004 Republican Primary had four contenders (Jack Ryan, Oberweis, Rauschenberger and McKenna) with significant resources, a political base or organization and a message-- to varying degrees (not to mention sex clubs, lies, Al Queda and the courts); and three candidates with no chance to win but who added dating detours, beach landings and downstate frolics (Borling, Kuthuria and Wright).
All in all, people might have paid a fair sum to watch these primaries, even more than to see the leggy Bristol and her cheering mama grizzly bear on Dancing with the Stars.
Sex clubs, Keyes, Ryan and the Pentecostal Revival
The 2004 U. S. Senate general election contest in Illinois started out with all the trappings of a lively, intellectual contest between Barack Obama and Jack Ryan before it turned, in the words and under the watchful eyes of WLS radio personality Dan Proft, into something resembling a Pentecostal revival meeting.
That happened when Maryland import Alan Keyes subbed for the North Shore's Jack Ryan, after it transpired, as Jack said, that he had pressed his own wife, actress Jeri Lynn Ryan, to have sex with him, albeit perhaps in the presence of some onlookers (sex clubs were not exactly what the family values crowd had in mind for their candidate).
The 2011 Chicago Mayoral Filing Line-up
Finally, we go back to the future, to the 2011 Chicago Mayoral race. There are almost three months left before the February 22, 2011 election. If no candidate obtains more than 50 % of the vote, a run-off between the top two vote getters will take place on April 5, 2010
On Monday of this week, five significant pols filed to run for Mayor of Chicago. They include former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (appearing in the Best of Public Affairs, watch here), former CPS Board President Gery Chico (picked by Thom Serafin to win it all, watch here), Cong. Danny Davis (D-Chicago, 7th CD), City of Chicago Clerk Miguel del Valle and the only African-American female to be elected to the U. S. Senate, Carol Moseley-Braun.
Each of these individuals filed more than enough petitions to survive any challenge as to the requisite number of citizens supporting ballot (Except, Rahm Emanuel may face a tough challenge on residency grounds).
Almost certainly, a sixth significant pol (State Senator and Salem Baptist Church Rev. James Meeks) will join the field by filing this coming Monday.
And, then there were three?
The chances that all six of these candidates will stay in the Mayor's race until Christmas is dubious, at best. However, the vote will be splintered among at least three strong candidates. Thus, look for the Mayor's race to provide more than sufficient entertainment to keep the citizen spectators happy until the boys of summer take to the field in April.
Rating the Chicago Mayoral candidates- who is ready for Prime Time?
But, as they come out of the gate this week, the contestants number six. How do they rate and rank? We'll take a look at that in my next post.