Guessing game: Will Daley run again?

July 23, 2010

A new poll recently found that more than half of Chicago voters don't want to see Daley re-elected.

At no point previously in Mayor Richard M. Daley's 20-plus years in office has there ever been a week of speculation like the past seven days.

The mayor's brother, William Daley, on Friday emphatically denied recent reports that he said the mayor has decided not to run.

William Daley, the Midwest chairman of JP Morgan Chase, denied a report this week that he has been telling people in private that his oldest brother, Mayor Richard M. Daley, intends not to run again.

William Daley called the reporter who authored the story a liar.

"I told him he was lying. It was a lie. I've never said anything like that, I don't believe that," said William Daley. "[My brother] and his wife will make the decision at some point, but I've never said that to anybody, and I dare anyone to come forward and say that."

Last weekend, a Chicago Tribune poll suggested that the mayor's approval rating had dropped to an all-time low of 37 percent, and that 53 percent of those surveyed did not want Daley to run for an unprecedented seventh term.

Speculation that Mayor Daley might retire is fueled in part by the fact that only seven months before the city election next February, he has not organized a campaign staff and has not held a fundraising event.

The mayor, who says he's still undecided on 2011, insisted Thursday the fundraiser part doesn't mean anything.

"I'm not a fundraising mayor. I could have fundraisers every day. I've never done that," said Daley. "Look back at my career."

Aldermen mentioned as possible Daley successors are reluctant to speculate on the powerful mayor's future. The 28th Ward's Ed Smith suggested the incumbent's low approval rating was more about the economy.

"I think the conditions has led to a lot of these adverse polls, and this has taken place all over the country," said Smith.

Back at the JP Morgan Chase branch, William Daley insisted he has no inside information about the mayor's future, but he acknowledged that there are reasons his older brother might not run again.

"Oh, I assume there are, you know, it's a tough thing to have to face you all everyday," said William Daley. "The problems of governing are getting worse everyday."

Sources inside the administration say the mayor and his wife probably won't make a decision until sometime in the fall, and most likely will not announce it until after the November general election.

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