Dorothy Brown expected to launch run for mayor

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The race for mayor of Chicago may get its first major candidate on Thursday. That is when the Clerk of the Cook County Court, Dorothy Brown, is expected to announce she is ready to run.

Brown is one of several potential candidates who believes scandals at City Hall may have weakened Mayor Daley's grip.

Dorothy Brown has apparently decided that Mayor Richard Daley is finally vulnerable after 17 years in office, because of the massive City Hall corruption scandal, fallout from the John Burge police torture case and frustration over ever-increasing property taxes. So, after a few months of "exploring" a run for mayor, she claims that calls from the community for her to run have been overwhelming and she is about to pre-empt the field by jumping into the race on Thursday.

Dorothy Brown is the highest-ranking African-American woman in Illinois politics, clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court, which means handling the paperwork for the entire court system with the help of 2,300 employees and a budget of $100 million a year.

The 52-year-old Louisiana native has advanced degrees in law, accounting and business, and she has worked in the private sector. So she can argue that she is better qualified than the other potential challengers, even if they have bigger names, like Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who seems increasingly disinclined to run, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who appears to be 50-50, and James Meeks, the minister and state senator who is looking more and more like a candidate everyday.

The only announced candidate so far is South Side activist William "Dock" Walls, who used to work for the late Mayor Harold Washington, but he is considered a longshot.

The wild card is the mayor, Richard M. Daley, who hasn't announced his intentions yet but seems to be gearing up for another run for re-election to a sixth term despite a massive two-year City Hall corruption scandal that has been closing in on his inner circle.

If Daley does run, and wins again, he will break his father's longevity record of 20 years in office in the year 2010.

Daley's political advisor David Axelrod says the mayor is gearing up for a re-election run. It will become more obvious in the days ahead, and Axelrod's predicting an easy win for Daley, because "the people of Chicago know what he's done for the city, and even though there's a lot more to do, they want him to do it."

As for Dorothy Brown, Axelrod says she may be jumping in now because the word on the street is that Jesse Jackson Jr. is contemplating some type of announcement of his own in the next few days, and she wants to beat him to the punch.

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