In a stunning decision, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday morning that he will no longer seek a third term in office, signaling the end to what has been a tumultuous – and at times transformative – eight years in office.
With First Lady Amy Rule by his side, an emotional Emanuel said the time simply had come to write a new chapter in their lives together.
“I’ve decided not to seek re-election,” Emanuel said. “This has been the job of a lifetime, but it is not a job for a lifetime.”
Emanuel’s decision marks a dramatic political reversal, as for the better part of the last year he had said he would run for a third term. The mayor, long a prolific fundraiser, had already reeled in more than $10 million toward a bid for a third term.
Either he has realized that his political future in Chicago is done, because he tried to cover up a murder by police to help with his reelection bid:
Emanuel weighed the decision as the murder trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke is scheduled to begin this week, a high-profile case that is sure to bring about fresh scrutiny of his handling of the Laquan McDonald police shooting, in which Van Dyke shot the teen 16 times in October 2014 as he walked down a Southwest Side street holding a small folding knife.
For most of 2015, Emanuel fought in court not to release police video of the shooting, arguing the matter was still under investigation. When a judge ordered Emanuel to release the video in November 2015, then-Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez filed murder charges against Van Dyke on the same day Emanuel made the video public.
The controversy led to a federal civil rights investigation of the police department, accusations of a City Hall cover-up and weeks of street protests that called for Emanuel’s resignation. It also left Emanuel saddled with deep unpopularity among African-American voters, a demographic that he performed strongly with in his previous campaigns for mayor.
Or he is facing an indictment.
Given his fundraising prowess, and his overweening ego, I do not think that he would not believe that he could not turn his political fortunes around in the next 6 months, the election is in February.
The trial should be long over by then.
I’m hoping to see him being frog marched out of his posh Ravenswood home in handcuffs.