WASHINGTON – The surprise decision by Representative Bobby Rush, D-Ill., Not to run for a 16th term sparked a chain reaction on Tuesday, with Ald. Pat Dowell (3e) about to drop his candidacy for secretary of state and move on to a House race, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
Dowell told the Sun-Times that she would decide soon – it could happen in a day or so – whether she makes the switch.
“I am seriously considering a pivot of the Secretary of State’s race to congressional headquarters that would be opened by the retirement of Bobby Rush,” she said.
If Dowell jumps into the House race, she will start out ahead in what will – at least initially – be crowded ground – as she will already have a political campaign running while most of the others will have to start from scratch. .
There is a huge pent-up demand for the Rush seat, 75 will be leaving next year when it completes a 30-year race.
“Please don’t think I’m cutting and running,” Rush said at a press conference at the Roberts Temple of God In Christ Church, 4021 S. State St., a highly regarded venue. symbolic because it hosted the funeral of Emmett Till in 1955, the black youth of Chicago brutally murdered in Mississippi.
It was a fitting place for Rush, who made the fight against racial injustice and civil rights the centerpiece of his career, whether as a 1960s radical, city councilor, or congressman.
“I will remain at the forefront of the battlefield, organizing my community,” said Rush, an ordained Baptist pastor who was first elected to Congress in 1992.
He admitted that when it came to public speaking he was difficult to understand. Cancer surgery took some of his vocal cords and, he said, reflecting on his life, the fear of health “made me a better survivor.” He said in his next chapter – as an activist minister – that he would continue to make his voice heard.
Scramble to replace Rush
The new 1st The Congress District is anchored in part of the South Side and southern Cook County suburbs. Geographically it’s vast as it heads south and west of the state past Cook County, but most voters are crammed into the northern end of the district, which is geographically small.
Rush has said he expects to approve a successor. “The leadership demands that,” he said, and anticipates a selection, he said, “the next few weeks”. This timeline suggests that he may already have someone in mind.
Rush hasn’t widely telegraphed his retirement from Congress, so once word got out on Monday, he wouldn’t be looking for a 16.e Eventually, rampant speculation began on who would run for the Democratic primary in June 2022.
1st The congressional district is so democratic that the June winner is virtually certain to win the seat in the November election.
Rush’s departure from Congress presents a ripe opportunity for Dowell, alderman since 2007 and ward head since 2008.
Dowell is now a feature film in the Secretary of State’s Democratic primary, where the favorites are former State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and City Clerk Anna Valencia.
Dowell noted when we spoke that she was not planned by the Cook County Democratic Party – Giannoulias was – and she signed the “loyalty oath” demanded by the Chairman of the Cook County Council, Cook County Party Chairman Toni Preckwinkle in support of their supported candidate.
With the Rush seat opening unexpectedly, she said she could make the switch because Congress is “in its wheelhouse.”
“I spend my day calling some of the elected officials in the 1st Congressional District.” She said she would contact Rush and Preckwinkle and other stakeholders.
As Dowell lagged behind Giannoulias and Valencia in raising funds for a statewide race, she said her Dec.31 report for the Secretary of State’s campaign fund would show a cash balance of approximately $ 500,000.
While federal fundraising rules are much stricter than state regulations for raising campaign funds – there are contribution limits and other provisions regarding donations – Dowell could potentially convert much of its money in federal dollars.
In any case, she already has a paid and operational political operation and has experience in stump removal throughout the state.
“I think I could potentially clean up the pitch or reduce it,” Dowell said.
Among those mentioned as potential candidates… Democratic State Senators Elgie Sims, Jacqueline Collins and Robert Peters, who are expected to relinquish seats to run in 2022. Another name that emerged Tuesday was Deputy Governor Christian Mitchell.
A political newcomer, Karin Norington-Reaves, will announce her House race on Sunday. The Chatham resident and lawyer has led the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership since 2012.
There are six Democrats who entered the race before Rush announced he would no longer be running, including community activist Jahmal Cole and Reverend Christopher Butler.
Candidates for the June primary can start running petitions on January 13, so the ground to replace Rush will quickly begin to form.
Rush called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday to tell her he would leave Congress after 15 terms next year.
Pelosi, in a statement, said that Rush, “a champion of civil rights” “has dedicated his entire life to the fight for racial justice. When he retires at the end of his term, Congress, its constituents and the country will deeply regret his pious and powerful voice for justice in the House. ”
Pelosi said: “From his early years as an organizer of the civil rights movement, Congressman Rush has never wavered in his fight to uplift long underserved communities of color in Chicago and across the country. . “