-By Warner Todd Huston
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has over $8 million in his campaign fund and usually that sort of cash is quite a harbinger of election success but maybe not this time as the mayor’s approval ratings crater and at least two powerful opponents warm to a run against him, one of whom might be backed by the deep pockets of the national teachers union.
Thus far Mayor Emanuel does not have any official opponents for next year and the one candidate that everyone assumed may have given him a real run, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, already officially announced that she would not run.
On the heels of Preckwinkle’s announcement came the President of the Chicago Teachers Union to toy with running. But now union chief Karen Lewis has loaned herself $40,000 of her own money to explore a run for Mayor, so it appears she is now more serious than ever about opposing Emanuel.
This is not good news for Emanuel because already National Teachers Union President Randi Weingarten hinted that if she ran Lewis would find the support of the NEA.
In mid August, Weingarten noted that if Lewis ran for mayor, support of the national union cold come in the form of a million bucks in campaign support. “In a race like this, spending $1 million would not be unprecedented for the AFT,” she said.
A July poll also revealed bad news for Mayor Emanuel. In a head-to-head matchup between the mayor and Lewis, the union chief came ahead with a nine-point lead.
This was back when Lewis was just toying with the idea of running. Now that she is seeking funds for the idea, it is clear she is more serious than ever about her prospects.
But Emanuel may not be facing only one opponent. Alderman Bob Fioretti is also considering a run against Emanuel and the Alderman is also a serious candidate.
Fioretti has pledged to make a decision by Saturday, September 14.
The Alderman has made several serious moves toward declaring with a poll of constituents and the launch of a website seeking encouragement not to mention that he has hired a staff already for a possible run.