After 21 years in office, Chicago's mayor Richard Daley says he will not seek a 7th term. "Its time for me, its time for Chicago to move on".
The 68 year old Daley called a press conference today, with wife Maggie and their children by his side, and told a stunned audience that he was done running the City of Big Shoulders, that it was due to "personal reasons".
Speculation is now running rampant about who will take over Chicago's top job. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has said he has "dreams" of being the Mayor of Chicago. When told about the mayor's announcement today though, Emanuel would only say "While Mayor Daley surprised me today with his decision to not run for re-election, I have never been surprised by his leaderhip, dedication and tireless work on behalf of the city and the people of Chicago."
Critics say the mayor's poll numbers are down, crime is up and the city's battling a bad economy, which might have helped influence Daley's decision.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin played down all the rumors and speculation about what is behind the mayor's decision, saying "I spoke with Mayor Daley after his announcement and know this was a personal, family decision. After 21 years as mayor and almost 40 years in public life, Rich Daley knew it was time."The job of a big city mayor is one of the hardest in America. The fact that Chicago is one of the best, most energized, most attractive places to live in our nation tells the story of Mayor Daley's record."Maggie, Rich and the Daley family poured their hearts and souls into Chicago. Their legacy can be found in the schools, the neighborhoods and the businesses large and small across this great city."
Anyone looking to take over as boss of Chicago has until November 22nd to file. Election day is February 22nd. Prior to Mayor Daley's tenure, his father, Richard J. Daley, was mayor of Chicago from 1955-1976.
Photo Credit: AP Photo