Gery Chico considers himself the ‘anybody but Rahm' candidate in the narrowing field of contenders to get the keys to City hall from the Departing Mayor Richard Daley. He plays up his local candidate status hard, stressing that he went to Chicago Public Schools and so did his kids. Rahm Emanuel, he charges, was a child of privilege unlike Chicago's working class.
Chico is not the kind of political outsider that was so attractive to voters in November. He was a chief of staff to Mayor Daley. He was president of Chicago Public Schools. He lost a bid to become a US Senator in the 2004 Democratic Primary to Barack Obama.
He points to his Senate run as proof that he'll be able to compete with Emanuel in the fund raising arena, although he says he gave all of his surplus funds to charity. Emanuel has a reported $3.6 million in his war chest. Chico has $950 thousand. He boasts that he can raise 8 million to get to city hall.
He also carries the possibility that he can unify the Hispanic vote. He'll need that. No one can win in Chicago without getting substantial support from the Hispanic and African American communities. Right now, there are three well known black candidates courting the black vote: Carol Moseley Braun, Rev James Meeks and Danny Davis.
No one is an official candidate in Chicago until a petition, with 12,500 signatures supporting the candidacy, has been verified. The signatures get dropped off at city hall November 22nd. Chico says he'll clear that hurdle easily. His volunteers have already collected 30,000 signatures.
Something to watch in this race: As soon as the signatures are verified and the candidacies are officially declared, all the legal challenges to Rahm Emanuel's residency status hit the elections board and probably circuit court.