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Rep Confirms That Garry McCarthy Could Run For Mayor In 2019

By aaroncynic in News on Sep 19, 2017 5:26PM

Getty Images / Photo: Scott Olson / November 2015
A representative for former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy confirmed his creation of an “exploratory committee” for a potential bid at the mayor’s office.

Brian McCormack, who is listed on the campaign disclosure form as “chairman” told NBC5’s Mary Ann Ahern Monday evening “it’s real.”

The former top cop and McCormack were both mum last week when the Chicago Tribune broke the news of the filing. McCormack confirmed its validity Monday to NBC5 and said that McCarthy is looking to see if he can raise enough money and find a path to victory, and would be looking into polling in the future.

McCarthy, who was fired in the wake of the killing of Laquan McDonald by Chicago Police in 2014, has increased his public profile since his departure, appearing in several media outlets to criticize both policing in Chicago and movements demanding police accountability. Campaign buttons began mysteriously appearing over the summer. In April, he said that though politics were not in his DNA, he had been encouraged to run and would support a challenger to Rahm Emanuel.

“I would support anybody who would start thinking about performance-based government, rather than politics,” McCarthy told the “The Big John and Ray Show” on WLS at the time. “Because that’s what we need in Chicago. There’s no measurement. There’s nobody holding anybody accountable.”

Given his administration’s role in the McDonald shooting and others, as well as constant battles with the Chicago Teachers Union, closure of 50 public schools, closure of half the city’s mental health clinics, along with numerous other tumultuous issues, Emanuel may have a tough battle against any challenger, should he follow through with his intention to run for a third term. Knowing this, he’s already collected at least $3.1 million in his campaign war chest, according to a September analysis of his donors by the Chicago Tribune.

McCarthy too though, would have an uphill battle to convince Chicagoans he’s the right man to sit in the office on the fifth floor. While Chicago has been reeling over the past few years from violence in its neighborhoods, McCarthy’s embrace of more hard line conservative rhetoric on policing - including blaming Black Lives Matter for fueling crime and “hopeful” attitude towards Trump for selecting Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General—may not resonate in areas where residents understand that the lack of public resources plays a big role in that violence. Additionally, his own role in the McDonald case, as well as other high profile police shootings such as that of Rekia Boyd, won’t be easily forgotten.

If anything, it’s entirely possible that a McCarthy challenge that had significant financial backing could make mayor appear as a much more “progressive” candidate, despite Emanuel being forced into a runoff during the last election with Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia, who had the backing of many of the city’s more progressive community groups and unions.

A spokesperson for Emanuel’s 2019 campaign however, didn’t seem terribly concerned about the potential run.

"After five days, Garry has one from zero public supporters to one public supporter,” Peter Giangreco told NBC5. "It isn't whether you can raise the money to run a race. The question is what are you going to do to give our kids a good education, how can you improve city finances and how will you continue to reform the police department. If you're not prepared to answer those questions, you're not prepared to run for mayor.”