CHICAGO (CBS) – The election may start and end Tuesday, or there may be a runoff in April.
But either way, nobody named Daley will be on the ballot for the first time in 22 years – and for one of only a few times in the past 56 years.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya recounted on CBS 2 Tuesday, Mayor Richard M. Daley was elected to office in a special election 1989, to finish the unexpired term of the late Mayor Harold Washington.
Daley defeated acting mayor Eugene Sawyer in the Democratic primary, and went on to beat Harold Washington Party candidate Timothy Evans – now chief judge of the Cook County Circuit Court – and Republican Ed Vrdolyak.
Daley was easily reelected in 1991, defeating former Jane Byrne and now-U.S. Rep. Danny Davis in the Democratic primary, and Harold Washington Party candidate R. Eugene Pincham, Republican George Gottlieb and Socialist Workers Party candidate James A. Warren in the general election.
In the years to come, Daley had little serious competition, defeating independent Roland Burris and Republican Ray Wardingley in the general election in 1995. After partisan primaries and general elections were eliminated later that year, Daley never had to participate in a runoff election – defeating U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush in 1999, minister Paul Jakes Jr. and a handful of other candidates in 2003, and Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown and current mayoral candidate William “Dock” Walls in 2007.
Going back in history, Daley’s father, Mayor Richard J. Daley, occupied the fifth floor of City Hall for 21 years, from 1955 until his death in 1976. The senior Mayor Daley unseated incumbent Martin Kennelly in 1955, and easily beat back challenges from such opponents as Democrat-turned-Republican Benjamin Adamowski, and Richard E. Friedman, now president of the National Strategy Forum.
And while he always had an opponent in the general election, the senior Daley ran unopposed in the Democratic primary in 1963, 1967 and 1971.
Since 1955, there have been three mayoral elections in which no member of the Daley family ran. In 1977, Michael Bilandic was elected to finish the senior Mayor Daley’s unexpired term, and in 1979, he was defeated by Jane Byrne. In 1987, Harold Washington was elected to his second term in office, defeating Byrne in the primary, and Vrdolyak and Republican Donald Haider in the general election.
There has also only been one election in which a Daley lost. In 1983, Richard M. Daley ran for the Democratic primary against Byrne and Washington. With the benefit of a major voter registration campaign among his supporters Washington defeated Byrne and Daley, and went on to defeat Republican Bernard Epton narrowly in the general election.