Cook County Clerk David Orr, who’s not seeking re-election after seven terms in that office, is mulling a run for Chicago mayor, he said Wednesday.
“The truth is I am looking at it,” Orr said. “I want to see the city go in a different direction.”
Orr, who will turn 74 next month, has a storied history in Chicago politics. As 49th Ward alderman in the 1980s, he was an “independent Democrat” allied with Mayor Harold Washington. After Washington’s death, Orr served as interim mayor for one week.
Orr defeated two candidates, including one backed by the Democratic machine, in 1990 to win his current office. He was often mentioned as a candidate for higher office, but never took the leap.
Orr said Wednesday that city government has “too many machine remnants” and controversial tax increment finance districts are in need of further reform, Orr said. “You can have a vibrant downtown without so much suffering in other neighborhoods,” he added.
When he announced last year that he would not seek another term as county clerk, Orr was asked if he regretted never running for another office, particularly mayor.
“Not really,” Orr said then. “I love having a life. I like coaching, I like reading, I like traveling. Let’s face it, if you were mayor today, and all the challenges that we had, you’ve got to have a lot of energy.”
But Orr said Wednesday that he did not plan to shrink away. He already had formed the Good Government Illinois political action committee, with the aim of “advancing democracy,” promoting “good government” and to “elect good candidates for mayor and City Council.”
“My plans were not to go away and read books,” Orr said.
In one sense, he’s fresh off an electoral victory. He backed Fritz Kaegi for county assessor in the March primary. Kaegi defeated incumbent Joe Berrios, then the chairman of the county Democratic primary.
Orr said that whether he decides in the next few weeks to enter the race will depend on “personal” considerations and whether he has “a clear path to victory,” including the ability to raise sufficient campaign cash.
“I’m not trying to get out of retirement,” he said. “It sounds great. But I really believe the city needs to go in a different direction.”
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September 5, 2018 at 05:18PM