Wednesday, April 08, 2015


It was a victory for the Chicago Teachers Union to force a runoff in the Chicago mayor's race but incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel survived last night and beat Jesus Chuy Garcia in that runoff by over 10%.

Sadly, Emanuel, the man called Mayor 1%, had plenty of the old Democratic Party machine support in the runoff against Garcia.  The challenger was endorsed by the CTU which was backed by the national American Federation of Teachers and our own United Federation of Teachers.  The CTU famously took on the mayor with the 2012 strike.  The contract that came after that walkout will end soon.

Emanuel admitted he received a message in claiming victory.  He stated, "Thank you for putting me through my paces. I will be a better mayor because of that."

It would have been a huge deal if he had been defeated. Since he won, was this just another defeat for teachers and their unions?

The union says no.  The CTU reaction is copied in full below.

Election 2015: The movement that changed Chicago’s political landscape

by ctu communications  |  04/07/2015
CHICAGO—For the first time in 20 years, Chicagoans had the opportunity to engage in an extended political debate regarding the city’s future, which created a massive coalition of labor, community organizations, social justice activists, clergy and people of all ethnic backgrounds and from all of Chicago’s neighborhoods. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is both proud and honored to be one of the organizations contributing to what was not only a mayoral campaign for Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, but a landmark moment for a progressive, democratic movement that is only going to grow larger and more powerful in Chicago politics.  
Although Mayor Rahm Emanuel won a hard-fought re-election campaign, it came only after surviving the first run-off in Chicago’s history. The fact that a number of incumbent aldermen lost Tuesday night and all Progressive Caucus candidates won re-election despite the mayor's efforts to discharge them demonstrates the dissatisfaction and anger felt by countless Chicagoans. Emanuel was able to win re-election by promising to change his approach and be more responsive to the needs of every day residents of our city. If the mayor is truly repentant for his past policy transgressions, this will allow for more substantive contract negotiations between the CTU and the Chicago Board of Education, and transparent discussions about the type of neighborhoods, schools and public services that Chicago’s students and their families deserve.

The day after the mayor closed a record 50 neighborhood schools in 2013, CTU President Karen Lewis said the CTU had three objectives: register 100,000 new voters, run CTU candidates for political office and change the political landscape of the city. We have accomplished each of these goals, but still have much work to do for 20,000 homeless students in our district, a growing epidemic of overcrowded classrooms and 200 schools without libraries. Our ongoing contract negotiations will bring these and many other issues to the fore, and we hope the mayor and his administration will respect the position of our educators, who desire only the best for our students and their families.

“The mayor didn’t win the run-off election in as much as he survived it,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “But we believe that if he is sincere about owning his faults and talking when he should be listening, that the sentiments expressed in his television ads won’t just be conciliatory, but that his ears and his heart will be open and we continue to move forward as a city.”

We congratulate Chuy Garcia for a carrying the torch and providing a voice for the thousands of people who have been marginalized by failed policies of both current and past mayoral administrations. We also congratulate CTU-endorsed winners Toni Foulkes (16th Ward), Derrick Curtis (18th Ward), Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward), Anthony Napolitano (41st Ward) and John Arena (45th Ward). Through their campaign, Chicagoans have seen what is possible if we challenge the status quo.

We are all winners tonight, because all of Chicago made a difference in this election. We have debated a number of issues in all parts of the city; a number of first-time aldermen will be sworn in as new members of the Chicago City Council; and the people of Chicago have gained the positioning and the right to protest and have a greater understanding of the power of their collective voice.

“This was not just about one election—it was about a movement created by people who have felt relegated to the sidelines for far too long,” said CTU President Karen Lewis. “This coalition of individuals and their values and ideas that united around Chuy and our candidates for alderman is going to be a force in Chicago politics for generations to come.”


Anonymous said...

This is very bad news for the Democrats. The party has to come to terms with the fact that a solid 40-45% of their voters are pissed off. When incumbent "Democrats" like Cuomo or Emmanuel are only able to muster totals in the mid 50s in places as "blue" as NY or Chicago it doesn't bode well nationally.

Anonymous said...

So we get the Republicans. Both sides hate us.