- Chandler West/Sun-Times Media
- Look on the bright side, Chicago—in Tuesday’s primary, voters showed their utter disgust with Mayor Rahm’s policies . . . in a roundabout way.
In my ceaseless search for good news, I’m declaring yesterday’s primary election a massive defeat for Mayor Emanuel.
Yay! Whee! Whoo!
OK, so Mayor Emanuel’s name wasn’t on the ballot.
And, yes, he remains emperor of the city. And as I write this he is, no doubt, looking for more schools to close or parking meters to sell.
So I’m probably being delusional as I scrape for scraps of good news.
That said, I’m almost as happy about yesterday’s election as I was two weeks ago when Jimmy Butler stripped the ball from LeBron James on that last-second play to help lead the Bulls to victory over the Miami Heat!
Who are sort of like the NBA’s Mayor Emanuel.
Let’s start with the Democratic primary in the 26th District . . .
Yes, yes, Mayor Emanuel’s guy—state rep Christian Mitchell—won.
But it was closer than expected. Jay Travis, the challenger, pulled just more than 47 percent of the vote. And she clobbered Mitchell in most of the black precincts—like those portions of the Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, and 20th wards that are in the district.
You know, I always get in trouble when I wade into this topic—especially with my liberal friends, who love Mitchell almost as much as they love Trader Joe’s.
So to keep them from whining excessively, let me say that, yes, Mitchell is smart and charming and he voted the right way on same-sex marriage.
The point is, when Mitchell’s constituents needed him to take a strong stand against Mayor Emanuel’s school closings, he was nowhere to be found.
And he paid a price. Backed by the Chicago Teachers Union, Travis won about 58 percent of the vote in the 20th Ward, 54 percent in the Fifth Ward, and 59 percent in the Third.
Hell, she even won 54.2 percent of the vote in the Fourth Ward, despite the fact that Mitchell also had Cook County president Toni Preckwinkle’s strong backing. That’s Preckwinkle’s home ward.
In fact, I’d say that without Preckwinkle’s support, Mitchell might not have gotten nearly as many south-side votes as he did. And he might have lost the election.
As it is, Mitchell should most definitely buy some happy hour drinks for 42nd Ward alderman Brendan Reilly. Mitchell won nearly 78 percent of the vote in that downtown ward, beating Travis by 400 votes.
Overall, Mitchell won by less than 500 votes. Here—read the results.
By not standing strong against the closings and by waffling on the elected school board issue, Mitchell left himself vulnerable to the accusation that he’s Mayor Rahm’s puppet.
Similarly, check out what happened to Mayor Emanuel’s endorsed candidate in the west-side race for Cook County Board of Commissioners. Among city voters, Blake Sercye only won about 16 percent of the vote.
I’m telling you—Mayor Emanuel’s endorsement is the kiss of death with black voters.
Of course, you could also say that yesterday’s big loser was Preckwinkle, the mayor’s chief rival, who also endorsed Mitchell and Sercye.
But I’m choosing not to say that, ’cause I want to be optimistic—remember? As opposed to gloomy and jaded. My usual condition.
So speaking of good news for the anti-Rahm crowd—three cheers for the activists in Logan Square who won big in the referendum over Mayor Emanuel’s plans to turn Ames into a marine academy.
Almost 69 percent of the voters preferred to keep it a community school. Let’s see if Mayor Emanuel backs down.
Also, I’m counting Will Guzzardi’s triumph over Toni Berrios in the 39th District as a triumph for the anti-Rahm crowd. Guzzardi came out against Mayor Emanuel’s school closings and for an elected school board.
I know—Toni Berrios ran a lousy campaign. I still don’t understand why she steadfastly refused to talk to reporters when they came a-calling for interviews.
Guzzardi’s backers tell me Berrios was muzzled by her campaign advisers ’cause she’s not very articulate.
As if Chicago voters give a hoot about oratorical dexterity. As I recall, Mayor Daley was hardly the second coming of Oscar Wilde, and voters would probably still be electing him if he hadn’t decided to get the hell out and turn things over to Rahm.
Oh, God, that’s right. Rahm’s still mayor. Now I’m depressed all over again. I tell you—it ain’t easy finding the silver lining in Chicago politics.