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On Daley, Loyalty, and Making History

By Kevin Robinson in News on Dec 13, 2006 5:30PM

The big news yesterday was that Daley would run for relelection. Lined up at city hall with all the aldermanic candidates was none other than Terry Peterson, former Chicago Housing Authority CEO and Daley's campaign manager, carrying less than 25,000 signatures to put Hizzoner on the ballot. This is a far cry from past campaigns when Daley surrogates would arrive with nearly a quarter million signatures.

2006_12_deal.jpgWhile some have speculated that filing light like this indicates a weakening of the Mayor's street organization, and the machine's ability to turn out people to work for the Mayor (and thus their own job), the truth is a little murkier. While it is true that the recent crackdown by the feds on city hiring has changed the dynamic a bit, one need only look at the recent Cook County Board President race to see that the machine is still as powerful as it always was. While Daley and his minions didn't run at full force for this, it wasn't really necessary. In fact, we think that it was to his advantage to play it cool, so as not to alienate people that might have considered voting for not only the opposition, but more importantly Aldermanic candidates that the Mayor is backing.

Besides loyalty in the wards, Daley will continue to support Robert Sorich as much as he feels he can, and make sure he has a soft landing when he gets out of prison. The same will happen in the county, with Beavers and Stroger making sure that Gerald Nichols is well taken care of. If either one of those guys rolls on the Mayor or his organization, he stands to lose a lot.

Other behind-the-scenes dealings include bringing on Terry Peterson to run the campaign. Word on the street is that he is being groomed to take over when the inevitable happens (Daley is in his 60's). This is all part of the bigger strategy to shift the power base south, and deeper into the black community (watch the race between Darcel Beavers and Sandi Jackson to be a marquee one this season). As an added benefit, by playing penny-ante economic development in the black wards and backing black candidates, the Mayor gets to divide and weaken the unions and part of their coalition, especially the ones that the Mayor perceives as causing the most trouble for him and his organization. It may look like Ftizgerald and voter anger is closing in on the Chicago Machine. We wouldn't bet on it.