Burke has until Monday at 5 p.m. to submit petitions if he plans to run again
CHICAGO (WLS) -- While much of the focus of the February elections will be focused on the race for mayor, there is some political intrigue brewing on the Southwest Side.
Ed Burke. the longest-serving member of the Chicago City Council, still has not filed petitions for reelection in the 14th Ward, which has left some people wondering if maybe he's finally ready to retire.
Burke, the once powerful alderman and chair of the finance committee, is still keeping his political plans under wraps.
While other aldermen and mayoral candidates joined the long lines of those turning in nominating petitions on Monday, which was the first day for filing, Burke was nowhere to be seen.
Last year, Burke celebrated 50 years as an alderman.
He's under federal indictment. His wife, Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, also just retired, fueling speculation Burke himself may not run again.
"Burke has always defied expectation. A lot of people would assume that he might be ready to move on and that may be exactly the reason why Ed Burke will stay," said ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington.
Burke's 14th Ward has been remapped and is now a Hispanic-majority ward.
He could not be reached for comment on his reelection plans but one of his allies, Raul Reyes, has filed petitions to run for Burke's seat.
"It's either that he's running to replace Burke with Burke's blessing or he's running to compete on behalf of Burke," Washington said.
That could draw off some of the Hispanic vote to blunt the campaign of Jeylu Gutierrez, who was endorsed by Chuy Garcia in September and is the only other candidate so far running in the 14th Ward.
"I really don't know much about that candidate or if Mr. Burke is running again. I've been focused on door by door, talking to my neighbors and getting to know the needs," Guttierez said.
Burke still has until 5 p.m. Monday to file nominating petitions. That would put him in the lottery to be last on the ballot but there could be many other reasons he hasn't done so yet.
"He may be having trouble gaining signatures. That gives him more time to collect signatures. That gives his possible challengers less time to check his signatures out," Washington said.
Burke could also be waiting to collect as many signatures as possible to show his political strength.