Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told close associates and others months ago that he would consider running for mayor but never against Richard M. Daley. Then, Tuesday afternoon happened. Now, the South Sider, who is already a candidate, has an election to run and a decision to make. He is considering running for mayor of Chicago with the election just under six months away.
Dart said it again Thursday morning, this time for the entire city to hear. He is considering running for mayor of Chicago with the election just under six months away.
"To be honest with you, I've had a lot of people coming to me and asking me about my interest in it and wanting me to do it," said Dart. "It's something I told people I'd look into it."
But Dart has a dilemma. Just under eight weeks from now, he's up for re-election to the county-wide office he currently holds.
"I focused on running for Sheriff a year ago, running for re-election, that's what my focus has been," said Dart.
Dart, an attorney and former state lawmaker, hails from the politically influential 19th Ward on Chicago's South Side. He won his first term as sheriff in 2006.
His longshot Republican opponent on November 2, Chicago police officer Frederick Collins, called Dart another self-centered Democratic machine politician.
"I think it really reveals who he is which is simply a machine politician who doesn't really have the will of the people at his heart but only his own selfishness," said Collins.
A website called We Ask America says it asked over 2,300 Chicagoans to select from its list of mayoral possibles. The survey found Dart and U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Junior tied for a distant second place behind White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
"I think he would be an excellent mayor. He is an excellent chief of staff," Obama said.
On Thursday Emanuel got a boost from the White House. Undeterred, Dart says he'll take his time, be re-elected and consider moving his political fortune to one of the few offices he believes is worth holding despite all of its problems.
"If you are walking in there and acting that this is five, eight years ago, my God, you will be a train wreck," said Dart.
Dart already has an up and running campaign apparatus and a few hundred thousand dollars to at least seed a city election effort. There isn't a lot of time. Dart could lose two months finishing his re-election campaign while other mayoral candidates are focused on the city wards.