CHICAGO - Recent polls show that Chicagoans are open to Chicago Teacher Union President Karen Lewis over Rahm Emanuel as mayor. Since Emanuel became mayor, he and Lewis have clashed over Emanuel's closing of many Chicago public schools and have both openly expressed their dislike for each other. If Lewis runs for mayor, Emanuel may face a tough fight to keep his position. The New Republic's editor Zengerle writes:
When Emanuel cursed her at City Hall, Lewis told me, her immediate thought was: “Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to? I’m from the South Side, bitch.” But she swallowed her tongue and later played the episode for public sympathy. “He managed to make Karen Lewis, who’s anyone’s idea of a media rock star, into a positive figure,” one Emanuel ally lamented to me. And Lewis has continued to outmaneuver the mayor. When Emanuel’s school board moved to shutter 50 schools, it was Lewis who, seizing on the fact that most of the condemned schools were in African-American neighborhoods, led the demonstrations outside City Hall at which protestors chanted, “Hey Rahm, let's face it, these closings are racist!”
Indeed, the biggest reason Emanuel is in such political trouble right now is because of his unpopularity with Chicago’s black voters. When Emanuel ran for mayor in 2011, fresh off his stint as White House chief of staff, he wore what Lewis calls “the Obama halo” and won 59 percent of the city’s black vote. But his battles with the teacher’s union and Chicago’s horrible gun violence (which has disproportionately impacted the city’s black neighborhoods) have taken a huge toll on his African-American support. A Chicago Tribune poll from last year found that 48 percent of African-American voters disapproved of his performance as mayor. And in the new Chicago Sun-Times poll that found Lewis beating Emanuel by 9 points overall, she bested him by 18 points among black voters.
Read Zengerle's full piece here: HERE