Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced that he will not be seeking to retain his post in the 2019 city elections.
Emanuel, who entered office in 2011, had previously insisted he would be seeking re-election next year. But in remarks given Sept. 4, Emanuel said, "Today, the time has come to make another tough choice. As much as I love this job and will always love this city and its residents, I have decided not to seek re-election.
"This has been the job of a lifetime, but it is not a job for a lifetime," Emanuel said. "You hire us to get things doneand pass the torch when we've done our best to do what you hired us to do."
He added, "I have approached public service the only way I know how for the last 23 yearsgiving 100 percent, 24 hours a day, seven days a weekfor President Clinton, in Congress and in its leadership, as President Obama's Chief of Staff and finally as your Mayor. For the last seven and a half years I've given my all every day and left everything on the field. This commitment has required significant sacrifice all around."
Emanuel presided over numerous controversies during his administration, ranging from police brutality allegations to property-tax increases and school closings. He frequently pledged support to the City's LGBT community, however, regularly appearing at LGBT functions and walking in the Chicago Pride Parade. He drew criticism on some occasions, such as when his administration disbanded the City's LGBT advisory council. Local activists, many of them LGBT, have also criticized his administration's handling of housing and homelessness issues.
Emanuel had already amassed a sizable war chest to fund a re-election. With 12 candidates having already placed their hat in the ring for the mayor's officet, a high-profile election season is sure to follow for Chicagoans.
Lori Lightfoot, an African American lesbian attorney, is among the top tier of candidates in the race, having raised significant funds since her campaign was announced.