Field nearly set for Chicago mayoral race

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The field now appears to be set in the race for Chicago Mayor with 17 candidates vying to lead the city. And in 11 days we will start to see a clearer picture about which of them will be a serious contender. The deadline to submit nominating petitions is Nov. 26. Candidates need a minimum of 12,500 signatures, but to survive the expected challenges, experts say they will probably need two or three times that.

Political strategist Delmarie Cobb said in the end, probably only 5-7 candidates will actually be viable.

"I think it's going to shake out for a number of reasons," Cobb said. "The first will be the petitions. Next it will just be the ability to raise money and to get their name out there."

David Axelrod's estimate is slightly higher, but he said that's a good thing for Chicago.

"I don't think the city should fear a campaign or despair a number of candidates," said Axelrod, director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. "It's an opportunity to find out exactly what they have to offer."

What do the two analysts think voters should look for in Rahm Emanuel's replacement?

"What they should look for is somebody who can run a large and complex government but also someone who has a real feel for the neighborhoods in the city and real empathy for the challenges that the people are going through in those neighborhoods, the aspirations of people in those neighborhoods," Axelrod said.

"Well we've got to look for a mayor who is not content to preside over the status quo," Cobb said.

The changing political landscape, with voters looking for dynamic new faces, could be a factor in the mayor's race. So could the rising influence of women.

Should voters expect this race to get ugly?

"You know, Chicago's mayor's races have never been genteel affairs," Axelrod said. "There's a lot at stake and people tend to fight hard for them."

Some of the attacks have already started flying, and will likely only ratchet up. A good indicator of who the front-runners are is who is being attacked the most.
Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.