Mayor Daley announced last week he will not run for re-election.
City Clerk Miguel del Valle has opened a campaign office and says he wants the job.
Every day it seems a different unofficial candidate raises the bar to demonstrate his or her seriousness about for mayor. Miguel del Valle has a political organization in place that is tailor-made for a city-wide campaign.
"I am capable of winning a city-wide office because there's already a record of it. I've been on the ballot citywide, unlike other candidates who run in legislative districts," said del Valle.
Del Valle says, no matter what other mayoral wanna-be's might claim, he is a real candidate.
Del Valle has a website up and running, where voters electronically can sign the petitions that he began circulating last Saturday, and he has already designed a logo for the campaign.
"What I am going to say is that we need a leader who welcomes these challenges during the toughest of times," said del Valle.
Born in Puerto Rico 59 years ago, del Valle became the city's first Latino city clerk in 2007 when he ran and won on the ticket led by Mayor Richard M. Daley. He is the second candidate -- after State Senator Rev. James Meeks -- to open a campaign office for the 2011 election.
On Monday, former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun will announce she will begin a petition drive while still undecided about running for mayor.
Illinois Commerce Commission chief Manny Flores expressed an interest Thursday, as well as Alderman Ed Smith, who said he would run only if he could raise enough money.
"I know what it means to bring business to the City of Chicago," Smith said. "But the prerequisite, you gotta have money on the table or otherwise you don't have a campaign possibility."
Del Valle has counted as his base Chicago's growing Hispanic or Latino community, which could amount to as much as 20 percent of the vote in next year's city election.
But Congressman Luis Gutierrez is also circulating petitions for mayor. Del Valle does not take Gutierrez's action as an affront, but he concedes that over the years, the two Democrats have been political competitors.
"There's always been some competition there, but it's friendly competition. I don't consider it anything other than friendly competition," said del Valle.
Friendly or not, the competition is under way on the city's West Side and the Humboldt Park neighborhoods where del Valle and Gutierrez are best known. the Clerk says that, as of Thursday morning, he and the congressman had not talked about the race with each other.
With so many people potentially involved in the campaign for mayor, any division in a candidate's natural base could be critical to his or her long-term survival.