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2023 Chicago mayoral scoreboard

Keeping track of the actual and potential field for the February 2023 race for mayor.

Updated August 10, 2022

Who’s in:

  • Lori Lightfoot, incumbent mayor
  • Willie Wilson, entrepreneur/philanthropist
  • Ray Lopez, 15th Ward alderman
  • Sophia King, 4th Ward alderman
  • Roderick Sawyer, 6th Ward alderman
  • Kam Buckner, Democratic state representative and chairman of the House Black Caucus.
  • Frederick Collins, Chicago police officer, former Republican U.S. congressional hopeful
  • Paul Vallas, former Chicago Public Schools CEO
  •  Ja’Mal Green, activist

Who’s out:

  • Mike Quigley, Democratic U.S. representative
  • Arne Duncan, former U.S. education secretary
  • Janice Jackson, former Chicago Public Schools CEO
  • John Catanzara, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter
  • Bill Conway, a former prosecutor and naval intelligence officer

Who’s still being talked about as a possible candidate:

  • Anthony Beale, 9th Ward alderman
  • Gery Chico, former board president for Chicago schools and parks
  • Melissa Conyears-Ervin, city treasurer
  • Joe Ferguson, former city inspector general
  • La Shawn Ford, Democratic state representative
  • Judy Frydland, former Chicago building commissioner
  • Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, U.S. representative
  • Stacy Davis Gates,  Chicago Teachers Union president
  • Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward alderman
  • Janice Jackson, former Chicago Public Schools CEO
  • Brandon Johnson, Democratic Cook County commissioner
  • Susana Mendoza, Democratic state comptroller
  • Martin Nesbitt, local business leader and chair of the Obama Foundation
  • Pat Quinn, former governor of Illinois
  • Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th Ward alderman
  • Jesse Sharkey, outgoing president of the Chicago Teachers Union
  • Tom Tunney, 44th Ward alderman

Heather Cherone of WTTW-Ch. 11 notes that though Frydland has not declared formally, she has filed a statement of financial interests with the Chicago Ethics Board and created a fundraising committee. 

Tunney, a Lightfoot ally who had been championing a second term for her, seems to have had a change of heart and in early August the Sun-Times floated a story that he is strongly considering entering the race.

Quinn is clearly playing footsie with the idea and most expect him to announce that he’s running late in August.

Chuy Garcia seems to be out, but his demurrals have not been absolute, so I’m keeping him on the list of maybes for now.  I’m assured by people close to Mendoza that she has no interest in running again for mayor this cycle, which is probably smart given her ties to indicted former House Speaker Michael Madigan and indicted Ald. Ed Burke, 14th. Those ties will be much older news four and eight years from now and Mendoza only just turned 50. Lightfoot was 57 when she was sworn in as mayor.

Not on my list of maybes but people to keep in mind are those who ran for other offices but came up short in the June 28 primary, including City Clerk Anna Valencia; Alders Pat Dowell, 3rd, David Moore, 17th, and Gil Villegas, 36th; state Sen. Jacqueline Collins; Karin Norington-Reaves; Jonathan Swain and Jahmal Cole.

Andy Shaw wrote an essay for the Tribune on June 3, 2022 headlined “Ex-watchdog Joe Ferguson has the credentials to run for mayor. But he can’t — because of city law,” but in it he notes that “several lawyers I’ve spoken to say that … it’s probably unconstitutional to prevent a current or former government employee from exercising his or her First Amendment right to participate in the political process by, among other things, running for office.” Shaw also writes that Ferguson has “moved on to an exciting array of academic, legal and civic pursuits and may not want to launch a campaign.”

Fourteen names appeared on the general election ballot for mayor in 2019 (Lightfoot, Mendoza, Wilson, Ford and Vallas along with Toni Preckwinkle, Bill Daley, Amara Enyia, Jerry Joyce, Gery Chico, Garry McCarthy, Bob Fioretti, John Kozlar and Neal Sáles-Griffin) .