Photo Credit: Alicia Dale
I had the occasion to hear Political Analyst and former Chicago Tribune City Hall Reporter, Manuel Galvan give an overview of Chicago's Mayoral election process in late 2018 and early 2019 to listen, learn and watch as the continuous candidate announcements unveiled.. In November Mr. Galvan presented at a Rotaract meeting, the Rotary-affiliated young professionals club. Last November there were 37 potential candidates. Some withdrew and others couldn't meet the stringent requirements which include obtaining 12,500 valid signatures supporting the candidate's petition to be listed on the ballot. The definition of valid signature includes legible handwriting, the ability to validate the person is real and consistency in the signature.
For example, if Jonathon Jones signed a candidate's petition as Jonathon Jones but his voter's registration card lists him as Jonathon R. Jones that signature could be invalidated. Even the most seasoned Politicians struggle with the process. Dorothy Brown unexpectedly didn't meet the requirement. Only 21 remained after the first scrub and actually filed their petitions.
Most recently Mr. Galvan gave an overview of the 14 Chicago Mayoral candidates left standing from the original 37 that initially threw their hats in the ring. or at least considered running. During a Chicago Rotary Meeting at the Union League Club held on February 11th, Mr. Galvan demystified the Chicago Political Process. If that sounds too optimistic, he at least wiped some of the Vaseline off of the lens so the attendees could see the Chicago political process a bit more clearly.
Who's going to win the election on February 26th? No one. In Chicago, Manuel Galvan explains a winning candidate needs 50% of the vote plus one vote to win. With 14 candidates on the ballot dividing the vote, it's a pretty safe bet (even in Chicago) that not one candidate can achieve 50% plus one vote. Mr. Galvan predicts a high voter turnout based on the likelihood that many Chicagoans know or are at least familiar with one of the candidates. Me? I know Bob Fioretti, who was the beloved and respected Alderman of the 2nd Ward until, in his words, he was 'mapped out.' The Chicago Ward boundaries were re-drawn and the 2nd Ward as we knew it was dissolved. Yes, they can legally do that.
Before Alderman Ed Burke was charged with attempted extortion, Susana Mendoza seemed to be a formidable competitor having what Mr. Galvan described as a strong 'likeability' factor;. She did, until the playful video was leaked describing her Mayoral bid before she officially announced it. Then, of course, there's the fact that her wedding was held at Alderman Burke's home showing that they were pretty chummy. She continues to attempt to distance herself from the Burke connection. Willie Wilson turned out to be a surprisingly strong contender and remained in the game when it seemed unlikely he would be able to meet the mountain of requirements a candidate must meet including obtaining 12,500 verified signatures. Mr. Galvan notes, it's not easy to become a millionaire by your own means. It requires a sense of urgency and the ability to work hard. Mr. Wilson clearly has both qualities. I walk away from this Mayoral election with a deepened respect for Willie Wilson.
Could we really get another Daley in the Mayoral office? A possibility that seemed unfathomable six months ago is starting to seem to be a more likely possibility. Toni Preckwinkle's Pop Tax was pretty unpopular . We all learned, right along with the Cook County Board President, that Chicagoans can be pretty passionate about their pop.
The fact that we have only 14 candidates might seem a little light. Not to worry if you don't feel you have enough choices, a full list of eligible write-ins will be released on election day.
Hang tight. As we all know, anything can happen in Chicago.
Alicia Dale is a strategic thinking Creative that understands the power of words to influence, change and build new infrastructures. This Blog is to capture ideas that have no where else to go at this very moment. Who knows how they will be developed? Or where they will go? For now they are sparkles of light easily stored where I can search and find them when they call my name again.