Chicago’s next mayoral election will take place in February 2019. The incumbent, Rahm Emanuel, is facing a growing list of challengers — amongst them is now former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who was fired by Emanuel in 2015.
McCarthy announced his candidacy via Twitter on Wednesday evening, posting that “It’s time for new leadership that will fix our problems and pull us together. After thoughtful consideration and at the urging of my supporters, community leaders, and my family, I am officially announcing that I am running for Mayor of Chicago.”
After serving for four years as Police Superintendent, McCarthy was let go by Emanuel while the mayor took heat for allegedly burying a tape showing the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald sixteen times by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. Van Dyke is currently awaiting trial on murder charges.
Emanuel is accused of keeping the tape under wraps until his re-election campaign was over. McCarthy said at the time of his firing that he was “thrown under the bus” by the mayor’s administration. According to Fox News, McCarthy said the tape was out of his hands.
In an exclusive interview with the Chicago Tribune, McCarthy described the motivation behind his run, saying “Between the taxes, our economy, the schools and the crime rate here, we’re a laughingstock in America. The prevailing thought about Chicago is we’re on our way down in all those areas, and they all infect each other, and nobody seems to get that. It’s almost like a ‘Wake up, Chicago’ moment.”
And McCarthy insists his race against Emanuel isn’t out of vengeance. He told the Tribune, “No way, no way. While I am very emotional, that’s not my motivation here. Why would I possibly take on turning around one of the largest American cities in the right direction? Because I’m annoyed? No. I’m doing it out of a sense of obligation as a public servant and that’s what motivates me.”
Born and raised in the Bronx, McCarthy has close ties to Rudy Giuliani and was a first responder at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Emanuel’s campaign is already trying to use that link against McCarthy, saying that he and President Trump are “two peas in a pod — a couple of New Yorkers more interested in trashing Chicago for their own political gain than finding solutions.”
McCarthy describes himself as a conservative Democrat. In a video further rolling out his candidacy for mayor, he said, “I know firsthand how strong and proud and welcoming Chicagoans are. That’s why it’s so painful to see that under this mayor we’re awash in higher taxes, corruption, school closings and violent crime. We don’t have to live like this. Chicago doesn’t have to live like this.”