Who Will Follow Daley -- Someday?

Despite a lingering federal investigation into hiring and contracting fraud at city hall, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley won reelection yesterday with 71 percent of the ...
by | February 28, 2007

Daley_1 Despite a lingering federal investigation into hiring and contracting fraud at city hall, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley won reelection yesterday with 71 percent of the vote. Assuming Daley completes his sixth term, he will break the local time-in-office record set by his father, Mayor Richard J. Daley.

But here's the question that fascinates me now: When Richie Daley leaves office in 20??, who's likely to lead the Windy City?

There's no heir apparent -- familial or otherwise -- although Governing's executive editor and Chicago native Alan Ehrenhalt reminds me that it wasn't clear early on that the younger Daley was capable of taking up his father's political mantle, either. To many observers, the more likely candidate was his brother Bill, but he went into law and business, eventually serving as U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the Clinton administration.

We started kicking names around here on the 13th Floor, and our short list includes U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez (a former city alderman who declined to challenge Daley this year) and Chicago Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey (click here for more on her political/managerial savvy).

My colleague Zach Patton suggested Barack Obama might be interested in the job -- if he loses the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Or, I responded, perhaps Clinton -- if she loses to Obama. After all, she has stronger personal ties to Chicago (being born there and raised in suburban Park Ridge) than New York.

Now that the Oscars are over, we've got to speculate about something. Feel free to join in the fun.

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Anne Jordan  |  Former Editor
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