It's official: Rahm Emanuel will not be seeking a third term as mayor of Chicago.
The two-term mayor announced his decision at a City Hall press conference on Tuesday morning, according to ABC Chicago.
"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've decided not to seek re-election," said the current mayor.
JUST IN: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he will not seek reelection: "At the end of the day, what matters most in public life is four more years for our children, not four more years for me." https://t.co/K5876ppdwu pic.twitter.com/IbVwhJeOf0— ABC News (@ABC) September 4, 2018
“At the end of the day, what matters most in public life is four more years for our children, not four more years for me.” said Emanuel, using the announcement as a chance to again tout his plan to make having a four-year post-high school plan a graduation requirement for Chicago high school students.
Emanuel didn't cite a specific reason for his decision. The Chicago Tribune reports the mayor initially raised $10 million in hopes to seek a third term before deciding to change his mind.
Former president Barack Obama, who was also Emanuel's boss during his time in the White House, issued a statement following Emanuel's announcement.
NEW: Former Pres. Barack Obama on Rahm Emanuel: "Chicago is better and stronger for his leadership, and I was a better President for his wise counsel at a particularly perilous time for our country." https://t.co/B8q4fo76wZ pic.twitter.com/DZUgHpA4pp— ABC News (@ABC) September 4, 2018
"Chicago is better and stronger for his leadership, and I was a better President for his wise counsel at a particularly perilous time for our country," read the statement.
Emanuel has been criticized by many Chicago organizers and activists regarding his handling of public school closings, his gentrification plans, use of city resources and his administration's handling of the city's epidemic of violence.
Wow! What a win for Chicago organizers - a majority of whom are Black - and who have been waging some of the most effective campaigns & for the reporters who have done excellent investigative work exposing Rahm & CPD #ByeRahm 👋 #NoCopAcademy https://t.co/JqdqnjnCYA— cℓaudia stєℓℓ✰r ✂️ (@ClaudiaStellar) September 4, 2018
These are just a few out of hundreds (if not more) of photos in my archives showing some of the fierce protests and relentless organizing that has happened to oust #RahmEmanuel over the years. Like @prisonculture says, sometimes we win. #ByeRahm #IBelieveThatWeWillWin pic.twitter.com/HLNNU18Sg8— Love+Struggle Photos (@sarahdashji) September 4, 2018
Note to all other candidates in the running to become chicago’s Next mayor: it will not be easier for you, we still have an agenda that is pro-community/public schools/quality jobs and anti-divestment/policing/corruption. #ByeRahm— Charlene Carruthers (@CharleneCac) September 4, 2018
Emanuel's announcement also comes the day before police officer Jason Van Dyke's murder trial. Van Dyke shot Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014, killing him. Despite McDonald's death occurring in 2014, footage of the shooting was released only two years ago. Many believed Emanuel suppressed the footage for political gain.
Emanuel has not officially endorsed another candidate, but streets are certainly watching. There are currently 13 candidates in the running to snag that seat, including Black Lives Matter activist Ja'Mal Green and former Chicago Police Department disciplinarian Lori Lightfoot, who would be the city's first black woman and first openly LGBT mayor.
"It will fill my eyes with tears to leave a job I love and already my heart is full with gratitude,” said Emanuel. “We've worked together. We've celebrated progress together. And we have grieved together.”
Chicago's mayoral election will be held on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.
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