Aldermen consider campaigns to unseat Emanuel

October 16, 2013

An activist meeting Tuesday night in Chicago has at least two aldermen talking about trying to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Alds. Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Bob Fioretti (2nd) both told WBEZ they are considering running in the 2015 contest.

“When you have times like this, where the policies are so hurtful, people step up sometimes and say, ‘It doesn’t matter how much money a candidate has. We’ll vote against him,’ ” Waguespack said.

Emanuel thinks it does matter. By September 30, according to his State Board of Elections disclosures, his campaign fund had more than $5.1 million on hand. The election is 16 months away.

Fioretti said he and Waguespack have no major differences on issues and would not both end up running. Both aldermen publically considered taking on Emanuel in the 2011 election too.

Tuesday night’s meeting, a gathering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, brought out about 1,400 union members and community activists to promote an “economic-justice platform.”

An umbrella group called the Grassroots Collaborative developed the platform, which includes overhauling state and local tax systems and setting up a Chicago minimum wage of $15 an hour. Other points include opposition to privatizations and school closings.

Many of the activists who got a chance at the microphone blasted Emanuel. Behind the podium, Waguespack and Fioretti sat in a row of 11 aldermen, mostly members of the council’s progressive caucus. Gov. Pat Quinn and several Democratic state lawmakers also attended.

Noticeably absent was Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Some of her supporters are itching for her to take on Emanuel. But she says she is running for reelection.

Chip Mitchell is WBEZ’s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMitchell1 and @WBEZoutloud, and connect with him through Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.