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Would-be mayors on parade on Columbus Day

October 12, 2010 4:54:44 AM PDT
Parades and politics often go together in Chicago, so along with floats and marching bands, the Columbus Day parade featured a lot of potential mayoral contenders. Chicago held its annual Columbus Day Parade Monday.

Every even-numbered year, Chicago's Columbus Day Parade, a few weeks before Election Day, becomes to some extent a political event. In 2010 it was extraordinarily political, not only because of November 2, but also because of the wide-open mayor's election next February. For a would-be candidate who doesn't have much time, Rahm Emanuel wasted some of it at the Columbus Day Parade. Many -- if not most -- of the people he met along the route don't live in Chicago, where the former White House chief of staff has conducted a "listening tour" for the past week.

"People are talking about the basic issues, of safety on their streets, the quality of their schools, the ability to find a job," Emanuel said.

As Emanuel worked the parade route, Sheriff Tom Dart -- another potential candidate for mayor -- was less than a block away, marching in the parade. Dart told ABC 7 he hadn't bumped into Emanuel.

Earlier, City Colleges President Gery Chico was endorsed by other prominent Latino politicians, Marty Castro and Illinois Commerce Commission Director Manny Flores.

"Gary through his upbringing and work knows our Chicago and the great people that make our city what it is," Flores said.

"This is not going to be a Latino campaign. I happen to be Latino...but our campaign is very, very broad based," said Chico.

Meanwhile, back at the parade, Italian-American alderman and likely mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti walked the parade route once and did its entire length again on a float.

"I'm proud to be running in the race for mayor and I'll be making my decision, my announcement soon," Fioretti said.

State Senator Rickey Hendon, who has already announced for mayor, concedes nothing to Fioretti.

"I have a lot of Italian community in my district, on Grand Avenue, on Taylor Street I'm very popular," Hendon said.

Alderman Ed Burke responded to a published report on a movement to draft him to run for mayor and to serve a single term.

"You know the only draft you get in politics: when you go to bed at night and you leave the window open, that's the draft," said Burke.

Also Monday, Rahm Emanuel's people e-mailed a photograph of Emanuel early voting Monday for the November election. This was an apparent effort to make the point that, if Emanuel is allowed to vote here, he must live here.


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