Ald. Tom Tunney won’t run for Chicago mayor, sources say

In a potential break for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Ald. Tom Tunney will not challenge her in the 2023 election, according to multiple sources.

Tunney, who represents Lakeview and Wrigleyville in the City Council and owns Ann Sather restaurant, had been mulling a run for weeks and posed a potentially formidable threat to Lightfoot as his candidacy could’ve divided up her original base of support on the North Side.


But Tunney, who has previously considered bids for the top job at City Hall, decided not to run against Lightfoot.

Tunney has feuded over the years with the Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs, over night games, parking, hotel development, garbage pickup and stadium shuttles, though Tunney handily won reelection in the 44th Ward in 2019. He was the city’s first openly gay alderman.


In 2019, Tunney supported Lightfoot in the runoff against Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and Lightfoot rewarded him by selecting him to serve as her Zoning committee chairman.

He flirted for months with a potential candidacy that could have generated strong support from the city’s business community. More significantly, Tunney could’ve cut into Lightfoot’s original base. Lightfoot emerged from a crowded field of candidates in 2019 in large part due to her strong base of support on North Side lakefront wards where mostly white liberals voted for her campaign.

Since then, Lightfoot has lost popularity on the North Side and attempted to target Black voters on the South and West sides to build a new political base, though she hasn’t given up on the lakefront and will attempt to reclaim her old supporters.

That is potentially easier without Tunney in the race.

Tunney’s exit leaves 10 candidates in the field for the Feb. 28 election, including Lightfoot, U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, Ald. Sophia King, 4th, activist Ja’Mal Green, Ald. Roderick Sawyer, former CPS chief Paul Vallas, state Rep. Kambium “Kam” Buckner, Ald. Raymond Lopez, 15th, business owner Willie Wilson and Cook County commissioner Brandon Johnson. If no one gets at least 50% of the vote, a runoff will take place April 4.

Tunney has been alderman in his North Side ward for 20 years. In August, he joined a long list of council members who said they won’t ask voters next year for another term. But speculation continued that he was considering a run for mayor instead.

Just this week, he voted against Lightfoot’s $16 billion budget for 2023 following a speech in which he cited public safety spending, among other concerns. “My residents don’t feel safe,” he said.


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