Greising: Mayor's Race a Numbers Game for Candidates and Voters

Running for mayor is a game of numbers. The date of announcement is a number. The money in the kitty is a number. The cold calculations about constituencies, canvassers, endorsements and timing are all about numbers.

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BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

Perhaps never before have Chicago’s mayoral race activities been as convoluted and confusing as those taking place ahead of the 2019 primary.

There were the dozen or so candidates who jumped into the race early with plans to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But Emanuel refused to play along and in September announced he was not running. That led to more candidate announcements that have led to some 17 mayoral wannabes — two whom had to inconveniently run for a different office first, before they could jump into the mayoral event.

State Comptroller Susana Mendoza, who announced Wednesday, is the latest the anti-Hamlet: To be or not to be a candidate for mayor was never in question. So impatient was she that a video for her upcoming mayoral campaign leaked just days before voters would go to the polls and re-elect her to the statewide office.

The voters dutifully played along. Mendoza was re-elected to the office she wanted to win, but clearly does not want to hold. And voters did so in such large numbers — 22,000 more votes than Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle received in Chicago — that Mendoza’s boosters are using her re-election to the job she does not want as evidence she could win the one she apparently intends to keep, the job of a big-city mayor.

Confused? It’s hard not to be. But the cold fact is we should almost be accustomed to this by now. After all, Preckwinkle paved the way.

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