After Mayor Rahm Emanuel decides against bid for third term, Chicago aldermen ponder life post ‘Darth Vader’

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision not to run for re-election next year has the dozens of aldermen and challengers fighting for seats on the City Council he has largely dominated these past seven-plus years facing a new political reality: With “Darth Vader” leaving, how will his successor hold things together?

All 50 seats are on the ballot in the February election and some old-school Emanuel loyalists on the council will face young candidates who will hit them for their fealty to the fifth floor and recent historic tax increases. So there was always likely to be a fair amount of aldermanic turnover.

Now, pro-Emanuel aldermen who have been on the fence about running need to figure out if they even want to try to come back to a body where a new mayor could look to new allies and different factions will try to assert themselves. Plus, aldermen are set to take a slew of unpopular votes in coming years.

Southwest Side Ald. George Cardenas, 12th, said veteran aldermen are weighing whether they can win and whether they want to wade into the chaos of a new council.

Burnett said some aldermen had hardly evaluated the 12 announced mayoral candidates, thinking they didn’t have a chance against Emanuel. While higher profile candidates are certain to get into the race, Burnett said that changed with the mayor’s announcement.

“Now I think it’s gonna make folks really look at them and see who can bring something to the table,” Burnett said. “The city’s in a challenging position with all these pension funds, the debt, who can keep the city going for the future.”

jebyrne@chicagotribune.com gpratt@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @_johnbyrne

Twitter @royalpratt

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September 11, 2018 at 05:30AM

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