PI Original Micah Maidenberg Tuesday August 24th, 2010, 2:06pm

Mayoral Critics Tilt Toward City Council Campaigns

Chicago Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd Ward) is leaving the door open for a mayoral bid -- even if it's just a crack -- as his volunteers begin gathering signatures to put him on the ballot for City Council once again.

Chicago Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd Ward) is leaving the door open for a mayoral bid -- even if it's just a crack -- as his volunteers begin gathering signatures to put him on the ballot for City Council once again. The nominating period for candidates seeking to run for Chicago's mayor, all 50 aldermanic slots, City Clerk, and Treasurer next year started this morning.

Fioretti told Progress Illinois that a run at mayor of Chicago is not on his radar "today." But he declined to forswear completely a campaign for the position during the current muncipal election cycle.

"I'm not ruling out anything," he said. "Never say never."

State law allows political candidates to gather signatures to make the ballot for multiple muncipal offices during the nominating period, which ends November 22. But within five business days of that date, would-be candidates who have filed nominating petitions for "incompatible offices" -- such as mayor and alderman -- must declare which office they'll run for, according to Chicago Board of Elections spokesperson Jim Allen.

Fioretti isn't the only mayoral critic turning toward another four years on the council. The Chicago News Cooperative reported that Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) will seek another term representing his Northwest Side district.

"I am focused on securing this ward aldermanic seat," Waguespack told Dan Mihalopoulos.

Neither Fioretti nor Waguespack have shied away from criticizing Daley in recent weeks as they considered mayoral runs. Waguespack went so far as to describe Daley as "a horrible manager of the people's taxes."

Fioretti said that a mayoral challenger would be "good for the city of Chicago."

"This city," he added," needs new leadership."

Regardless of whether or not Mayor Daley seeks another four years in office, Fioretti pointed out that Chicago's legislative body is set for something of a makeover. With four incumbent aldermen -- Alds. Vi Daley (43rd Ward), Virginia Rugai (19th Ward), Mary Ann Smith (48th Ward), and Helen Schiller (46th Ward) -- already declaring they will not seek another term, the next city council may be able to more critically "look at issues, analyze issues and tell the mayor when he's wrong," Fioretti said.

Ald. Tom Allen (38th), another council member said to be a mayoral contender, could not immediately be reached. Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), meanwhile, downplayed reports that she wanted city government's top job.

The general election for muncipal elected offices is scheduled for February 22, 2011, with a run-off scheduled for April 5, if necessary.

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