A Black woman is making a play for Chicago’s mayoral office. Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown announced her decision Thursday to run in next year’s race and oust the city’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Brown’s decision has gained attention for several reasons.
First, the clerk would be city’s first Black woman mayor if she won the office. Chicago had its first Black mayor with the election of Harold Lee Washington in 1983, but has not elected a woman of color yet. Amara Enyia, a Democrat and community organizer, put her hat in the Chicago’s mayoral race in 2014, but Emanuel was re-elected to the office in February 2015.
Brown, who has been in office since late 2000, would make history if she won the office next February.
Second, the mayoral bid is not the first one for Brown. She previously ran for Chicago mayor in 2007, but was unsuccessful against former mayor Richard M. Daley, garnering about 20 percent of the vote.
Third, the mayoral announcement has brought additional attention to an ongoing federal bribery probe involving Brown, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and has not been charged. The probe, which began in 2014, will be addressed by Brown during an upcoming public news conference Sunday, the Tribune reported.
Her candidacy might be appealing to African-American voters.
“The way that she’s gotten so much attention, and nothing’s come of it, in some cases that might be a benefit to her,” former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger said on Thursday. “Some people would think they are trying to run her out, and it might have the opposite effect.”
Brown, who has also faced scrutiny over practices of collecting campaign contributions, has a “large following” at South Side churches, a constituency that helped her get into office years ago. She is facing many other Emanuel challengers in next year’s race, including community activist Ja’Mal Green who is big with Black Lives Matter, CBS Chicago reported.
The upcoming election, with all its candidates, is shaping up to one to watch in Chicago. Brown, like the other candidates, will have to make known her reasons for her mayoral run in the race that could likely be a historic one.