Orr not? Cook County clerk opts out of mayoral race, as Summers heats it up

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Five days after announcing he was considering “a return to the mayor’s office,” Cook County Clerk David Orr on Monday ended his exploration of running for the post he once held for eight days.

Orr’s decision comes as two new candidates float trial balloons, leaving the mayoral field with a net gain of one.

The West Side Black Elected Officials voted in favor of an exploratory committee for a mayoral run for state Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago). City Treasurer Kurt Summers launched a website Monday for would be voters to weigh in on his potential mayoral bid.

A spokesperson for Summers called the site “[Summers’] version of an exploratory committee.”

“He’s at a point right now where he’s listening to people so he can make an informed decision,” the spokesperson said. “He wants to hear from all people.”

State Rep. La Shawn Ford, left, speaking with the Sun-Times Editorial Board in 2017. File Photo.| Rich Hein/Sun-Times; City Treasurer Kurt Summers, right, touts his gubernatorial candidacy before the Cook County Democratic Party in 2017. File Photo. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

State Rep. La Shawn Ford, left, speaking with the Sun-Times Editorial Board in 2017. File Photo.| Rich Hein/Sun-Times; City Treasurer Kurt Summers, right, touts his gubernatorial candidacy before the Cook County Democratic Party in 2017. File Photo. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

After Emanuel’s surprise decision last week not to seek a third term, Orr announced he was “exploring a change of plans … from gleeful retirement to a return to the mayor’s office.”

More than three decades ago, Orr served as interim mayor after Mayor Harold Washington died on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving of 1987.  Then 49th Ward alderman, Orr had been vice mayor, so under law he held the mayoral post until Eugene Sawyer was chosen acting mayor at a tumultuous City Council meeting on Dec. 2, 1987.

Orr, who is set to retire from the clerk position in December, told the Sun-Times about his decision Monday afternoon. He said the choice was “almost all personal.”

“I’ve been planning, after almost 40 years in public life, to retire,” Orr said. “I hope to use my political goodwill to elect a City Council and mayor to help the city move in the right direction.”

Summers is a former chief of staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. He is also a former senior vice president at GCM Grosvenor, the financial firm run by Michael Sacks, a top donor to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Preckwinkle is eyeing her own bid for mayor among others.

Scott Kastrup, Preckwinkle’s political director, said in a statement “Chicagoans know that no one has worked more effectively than Toni Preckwinkle to strengthen access to affordable healthcare, confront gun violence as a public health crisis and reform our criminal justice system.”

“She’s been a public servant in this City for over 25 years – she has a unique understanding of the importance, responsibilities and hard work of the Mayor’s Office,” the statement read. “She is giving serious consideration running for mayor and will be making an announcement regarding her decision shortly.”

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September 10, 2018 at 01:15PM

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