Kwame Raoul, Emil Jones eyed as possible mayoral contenders | Early & Often

18 Jul

In the wake of Cook County Board Chairman Toni Preckwinkle’s hasty exit as a possible mayoral contender, Sneed is told there is a move to fill the void with two male contenders in the black community: State Sen. Kwame Raoul and former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones Jr.

Sneed is told that top African-American business and civic leaders are scheduling a meeting in August with Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who has formed an exploratory committee, but a top source tells Sneed that Raoul should be regarded as a “bona fide contender.”

“There are a lot of bad feelings in the black community that Gov. Pat Quinn passed up Kwame as lieutenant governor, and that could hurt Quinn in the election,” said a top Sneed source familiar with the process of selecting a black consensus mayoral candidate.“

Trust me, Kwame Raoul, who chaired the pension reform committee, is the one to keep your eye on,” the source said. On Wednesday, the Sun-Times reported that Raoul had taken himself out of the running.

“We need a person who understands finance and the ins and outs of government, and Karen Lewis could be a disaster in that category,” the source added.

Sneed also hears a movement to draft former Illinois political powerhouse Emil Jones Jr., into the high-stakes race against Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in the works.

“Our intent is to tamp down support for CTU President Karen Lewis for mayor because there is no way she can bring the black community together on the schools issue to develop a black consensus,” said a major supporter of Jones supporter who asked not to be identified — but is well-known in the political structure of the African-American community.

“We need someone who can win,” the source said. “Emil was prominently mentioned in the mayoral election. He just needs to be cajoled and convinced.”

Jones, 78, is chairman of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. He is a viable commodity because he knows the political ropes — but his age is a major factor.

As president of the Illinois Senate, Jones once lent so much critical support to little-known state Sen. Barack Obama’s bid to be a U.S. senator — he was called Obama’s political godfather.

It was reported that Obama once described Jones as “a powerful advocate for those who need a voice” and someone with “passion for public service.”

“Emil Jones knows the give and take of politics; he’s an old pro who knows how to work across the aisle; he knows the ropes and could galvanize the black community like no one else,” the source said.

◆ Side note: Jones has been credited with helping Obama master the intricacies of the Legislature. He even had the theme from “The Godfather” as his cellphone ringtone.

A powerhouse in the black community who, in the past, was involved with fielding black consensus mayoral candidates told Sneed:

“No name has surfaced to run against Mayor Emanuel since [Cook County Board President] Toni Preckwinkle opted not to run,” said the source, who requested anonymity. “But Emil’s candidacy could be interesting. He knows how to build coalitions. He may be 78, but he’s vigorous, savvy, in good health and very smart. Hmmm.”

Jones, an old school politician, started out as a Chicago sewer inspector and worked his way into the leadership structure of the Illinois Senate.

Stay tuned.

via Kwame Raoul, Emil Jones eyed as possible mayoral contenders | Early & Often.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: