Richard Daley Drops Chicago Mayoral Bid; Will Rahm Run?

Mayor Richard Daley speaks at a news conference in Chicago, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009. Attorney General Eric Holder (right) listens in the background.The recent beating death of a Chicago high school student has brought U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan along with Holder to Chicago to discuss youth violence with Daley.
AP Photo/John Smierciak
Mayor Richard Daley speaks at a news conference in Chicago, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009. The six-term mayor announced today he will not seek re-election next year.
AP Photo/John Smierciak

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced today he will not run for re-election in 2011.

After six terms in office, it's "time for me, it's time for Chicago to move on," Daley said at a news conference, the Chicago Tribune reports. Daley, whose wife Maggie has been battling breast cancer since 2002, said he was making a "personal decision" to "begin the new phase" of his life with his family.

Daley's decision leaves the door open for White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to run for the seat. Emanuel, a former congressman, has signaled interest in the job in the past.

"I hope Mayor Daley seeks re-election," Emanuel, a Chicago native, said earlier this year. "I will work and support him if he seeks re-election. But if Mayor Daley doesn't, one day I would like to run for mayor of the city of Chicago."

Emanuel has said he has always aspired to be mayor, even when he was in the House of Representatives. He was seen as a rising star in the Democratic caucus and a possible candidate for speaker of the House before he left to work in the White House.

Daley has served as mayor since 1989 but has recently faced declining public approval ratings, the Tribune notes. A poll from the newspaper this summer found only 37 percent of city voters approved of the job Daley was doing as mayor, compared with 47 percent who disapproved.

The filing deadline to enter the mayor's race is November 22, and the election will be held on February 22, 2011.

Update, 4:15 p.m. ET: Emanuel released a statement saying, "While Mayor Daley surprised me today with his decision to not run for reelection, I have never been surprised by his leadership, dedication and tireless work on behalf of the city and the people of Chicago."

While Emanuel has yet to say whether or not he will run next year, the group Progressive Change Campaign Committee has been collecting signatures from liberals, angered by the White House officials' reported role in the health care debate, pledging not to support Emanuel in any future election.

"I will not support Rahm Emanuel in any future election for Congress, Mayor of Chicago, Governor, or other office," the petition reads. "He sold us out on the public option and is a weak Democrat who caves instead of fighting conservatives and corporate power. We won't forget the choices you've made, Rahm."

Update, 5:25 p.m. ET: President Obama today released a statement regarding Daley's decision.

"No mayor in America has loved a city more or served a community with greater passion than Rich Daley," he said. "He helped build Chicago's image as a world class city, and leaves a legacy of progress that will be appreciated for generations to come."

Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.