Chicago's City Hall is located at 121 N. LaSalle St. Credit: Matt B./Flickr

CHICAGO – Minutes after Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he would not seek another term, the already-crowded field of mayoral candidates ballooned.

The candidates considered to be frontrunners as of a few days ago — Lori Lightfoot, former president of the Chicago Police Board; Paul Vallas, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools; and former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy – suddenly face a whole slew of potential opponents.

Longtime Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd) almost immediately confirmed he was thinking of throwing his hat in the ring.

“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.”

Munoz is far from the only alderman who is thinking about running. Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) said he wasn’t “going to rule anything out,” Ald. Roderick Sawyer, (6th) told the Sun-Times he’s thinking about it, Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) and Tom Tunney (44th) said they’re not ruling it out and Ald. Ed Burke (14th), the City Council’s longest serving member ever, didn’t deny a potential run, according to the Daily Line. 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack’s name has also been murmured in recent months.

Aside from aldermen, people from all walks of political life are suddenly considering a bid for mayor. The Daily Line reports that Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle would make a decision soon, and named City Clerk Anna Valencia, Comptroller Susana Mendoza, city Treasurer Kurt Summers, Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez as potential candidates.

Obama White House staples Valerie Jarrett and Arne Duncan were floated by the Tribune, and Chicago magazine’s Edward McClelland even named Barack Obama himself as a potential candidate. 

Other names floating around town include Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Sheriff Tom Dart, Commissioner Bridget Gainer, former mayoral candidate Gery Chico and former U.S. Commerce Secretary Bill Daley.

Oh, and Chance The Rapper, who shared his opinion of the current slate of candidates on Twitter Tuesday:

On Tuesday, candidate Lori Lightfoot was skeptical of those who decided to enter the race after Emanuel’s announcement. 

“I think there have been a lot of names already floating around,” Lightfoot said during a press conference at the Union League Club of Chicago. “To be the mayor of this city, you need to have courage, you need to have strength and you need to bring people together. Many of us have been out here for months making our case to Chicagoans. And anybody who decides to jump in and take advantage of today’s political news, I think a fair question to ask them is: where they’ve been?”

Activist and mayoral candidate Ja’Mal Green, who credited his fellow activists for Emanuel’s decision not to run, said aldermen who sided with the mayor should watch out. 

“We’ve been getting some big wins,” Green said. “Now it’s all of those aldermen who sided with Rahm — I think they’re next. All those aldermen who voted for Rahm 99 percent and who were his henchmen, I think they have to go now.”

Here’s a full list of who announced their run prior to Emanuel’s decision:

Dorothy Brown
Amara Enyia
Ja’Mal Green
Troy LaRaviere
Lori Lightfoot
John Kozlar
Garry McCarthy
Matthew Roney
Neal Sales-Griffin
Paul Vallas
Willie Wilson

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