Dart volunteers gather signatures for mayoral run

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart at a news conference Thursday, March 5, 2009, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
October 20, 2010 4:44:40 AM PDT
Mayor Richard M. Daley's announcement that he would not seek re-election surprised many, but perhaps none more than Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. When Daley decided to call it quits, Dart was already running for re-election as sheriff. He is one of several candidates yet to officially announce they're interested in being mayor of Chicago.

"I'm gonna give it a few weeks and just work on that as sort of an outline and see from there," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart on September 22, straddling the Chicago mayoral fence.

In the last four weeks, former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is among those who have become mayoral candidates -- and captured lots of attention.

On Tuesday at a home foreclosure event, Sheriff Dart was asked whether he is falling behind in the race for mayor-- even though he isn't a declared candidate.

"I'm moving ahead with the sheriff's race right now. These other issues, there'll be a proper time for them," said Sheriff Dart.

While Sheriff Dart's comments suggest the proper time to announce will be in the future after his re-election bid, Dart's Chicago mayoral plans are very much in the present. Petitions that read "Dart for Mayor" are being circulated by "many volunteers" according to a campaign spokesperson, including one photographed Tuesday at a Northwest Side train station.

The Dart campaign declined to provide any current petition numbers to the ABC7 I-Team. To enter the race for mayor, the signatures of 12,500 registered voters are due by November 22.

"I haven't hidden from them that I am examining the mayor's office, so it isn't as if the voters are unaware that I talk in terms of that," said Sheriff Dart.

For some Dart supporters, it's more than talk. On the Northwest Side, a "Tom Dart for Mayor" sign hangs prominent in the front window of a political office. The sign was bought and paid for by former State Representative Ralph Capparelli, who served with Dart in the general assembly and who tells ABC7 he thinks Dart will announce as a mayoral candidate right after the November 2nd General Election.

Dart says that if he were to step down now as the Democratic candidate for sheriff, ward committeemen would appoint his successor. He says the "voters wouldn't be thrilled with that." If Dart leaves the sheriff's office after being re-elected, there would be a special election where the voters would decide on his replacement.


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