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Alderman to Daley: Pick a Candidate, Any Candidate

By Hunter Clauss in News on Nov 20, 2008 8:15PM

Oconnor.jpgMayor Daley’s unofficial city council floor leader, 40th Ward Ald. Pat O’Connor, says he’d like to run for Rep. Rahm Emanuel’s seat but only if the mayor gives him the thumbs up. Receiving Daley’s blessing would be a major bonus for any candidate competing in the special election for Emanuel’s soon-to-be-vacant House seat. So far, six other Chicago aldermen in have expressed some interest in the seat. Those aldermen are Manuel Flores (1st), Ariel Reboyras (30th), Tom Allen (38th), Margaret Laurino (39th), Tom Tunney (44th) and Eugene Schulter (47th). State Representative Sara Feigenholtz has filed her paperwork to run and may be joined by some colleagues.

State Representatives John Fritchey and John D’Amico may run as well as Rep.-elect Deborah Mell, the daughter of 33rd Ward Ald. Richard Mell and sister-in-law to Governor Rod Blagojevich. The list gets even longer with Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, Illinois Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Cynthia Santos, and John Borovicka, Emanuel's former chief of staff.

O’Connor’s attempt to force an endorsement out of Daley hasn’t worked. The mayor remains silent, which means that Democratic slate-makers will have a tough time coming up with a party endorsement. That presents the possibility of an open primary where it’s anyone’s game. O'Connor told the Sun-Times that's something the party should avoid. “We, as political leaders in this congressional district, would be pretty poor leaders if we allow it to dissolve into something like that…This is an opportunity for all of us to be together, work together and come up with a candidate we can all support and, if that happens, it’ll be a great opportunity,” he said.

If he does decide to run, O’Connor will undoubtedly face more questions about his zoning votes that benefited clients represented by his wife, who is a real-estate agent. O'Connor says he did nothing illegal. But, hey, at least he’s got one vote down.

Image of Ald. O'Connor from his website