The big news today is that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is stepping down.
"The truth is I have been thinking about this for the past several months," Daley said at a City Hall news conference that stunned the city. "In the end this is a personal decision, no more, no less."Potential replacements for Rahm Emanuel's position as chief of staff are mentioned below.
His wife Maggie stood by his side with the help of a crutch, smiling broadly as the mayor continued: "I have always known that people want you to work hard for them. Clearly, they won't always agree with you. Obviously, they don't like it when you make a mistake. But at all times, they expect you to lead, to make difficult decisions, rooted in what's right for them.
"For 21 years, that's what I've tried to do," he said. "But today, I am announcing that I will not seek a 7th term as mayor of the city of Chicago.
"Simply put, it's time," said Daley, 68. "Time for me, it's time for Chicago to move on."
The mayor said that "improving Chicago has been the ongoing work of my life and I have loved every minute of it. There has been no greater privilege or honor than serving as your mayor.
"Working alongside seasoned professionals, incredibly committed business and community leaders, and some of the most dedicated public employees you will ever expect, I have had the opportunity to expand, to build, to create, unite and compromise for the betterment of Chicago."
"I am deeply grateful to the people of this city, more grateful than I can fully express," Daley said. "I have given it my all. I have done the best.
"Now, I am ready with my family to begin the new phase of our lives. In the coming days, I know there will be some reflecting on my time as mayor. Many of you will search to find what's behind my decision. It's simple. I've always believed that every person, especially public officials, must understand when it's time to move on. For me, that time is now," he said. "The truth is that I've been thinking about this for the last several months. And in the last several weeks, I've been increasingly comfortable with my decision. It just feels right."
"For the next seven months, I assure you I will work as hard as I have for the past 21 years, for all the people of Chicago," he added.
Daley spoke for less than five minutes and took no questions
His announcement comes as he faces a record $655 million budget shortfall. Last month, the mayor said he's looking at hiring private firms to take over more city functions, including potentially running the Taste of Chicago, as a way to cut costs.[...]
Daley's decision sets off a major power scramble following more than 20 years of stifled political ambitions in city politics.
Daley was first elected mayor in 1989 following a failed bid in 1983. The mayor easily won re-election ever since, always with little to no opposition.[...]
Earlier this year, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel voiced his mayoral ambitions. But the former North Side congressman quickly added that he wouldn't take on Daley, for whom he served as a strategist and fundraiser in the mayor's first winning bid. Likewise, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he won't run for mayor unless the office is open.
Other internal names have risen and fallen: Peter Orszag was viewed, for an early moment, as a likely successor; Jim Messina is also a candidate, though bad midterms would do him damage as well; Tom Daschle has the requisite stature and connections on the Hill; John Podesta, who has said he doesn't want the job, would represent a change of course.