LITTLE VILLAGE — Following Rahm Emanuel’s stunning announcement that he would not be seeking re-election, longtime Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd) announced he was “seriously” considering joining the race for mayor.
“Bottom line, this is the most open seat we’ve had in my lifetime,” Muñoz said. “I’d be remiss if I didn’t think about it seriously.”
Muñoz, who already announced he wouldn’t seek reelection to his aldermanic seat, said he plans to make a decision in the next 48 to 72 hours.
“I’m talking to colleagues, neighborhood organizations. … It all depends on what comes back from those conversations,” the veteran alderman said.
The next mayoral election is Feb. 26. If no one gets a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters will square off on April 2.
There are currently 11 people who have officially tossed their hat in the ring for the mayoral election.
The candidates with the most name recognition — and the ones considered to be frontrunners — are Lori Lightfoot, former president of the Chicago Police Board; Paul Vallas, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools; and former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.
Earlier this year, Muñoz announced he would not be seeking re-election for 22nd ward alderman, a seat he has held for 25 years.
At the time, he said he would step down instead of having his successor appointed by Emanuel. He called his decision as the “right thing to do.”
“I believe it should be an open field,” he said. “God bless whoever wants to be alderman.”
During an interview with journalist Carol Marin that aired in July on NBC Chicago, the 53-year-old alderman suggested he would be open for a run at mayor in 2023.
During his tenure, Muñoz said he was proud to have “ushered an era of progress in the 22nd Ward,” including the construction of five grammar schools, a new high school and two libraries.
Muñoz said he was looking forward to life as a private citizen and spending time with his family.
In 1993, then-Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Muñoz to replace Jesus “Chuy” Garcia after Garcia was elected to the State Senate.
Muñoz, who has been a leader in the City Council’s Progressive Reform Caucus, has been a part of the fight for a $15 minimum wage, has advocated for fair taxation and fought for more police accountability.
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