Chicago's city clerk has become the first person since Mayor Daley's bombshell announcement on Tuesday to declare his candidacy for mayor.
Miguel del Valle, a longtime state senator who is now the first Latino clerk of Chicago, said Wednesday evening that he has "made the decision to run."
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that del Valle described his announcement as a moment of frankness in the mayoral maelstrom:
"I know a lot of people out there are saying that 'I'm thinking about it,'" Del Valle told the Sun-Times. "I didn't think it was necessary to play games with people and form an 'exploratory committee.' I am definitely running. I will do a formal announcement in the near future."
Del Valle served under Mayor Harold Washington as the chairman of his Advisory Committee on Latino Affairs. He also spent 19 years in Springfield as a state senator, where he rose to the post of Assistant Majority Leader. Four years ago, Mayor Daley asked del Valle to run as clerk on his ticket.
He joins at least two other candidates who announced that they'd be running before Tuesday, when Mayor Daley shocked much of the city by announcing he wouldn't be seeking a seventh term.
One of those candidates, William "Dock" Walls, wasn't so surprised by Daley's announcement.
"Chicago Media reporters are working overtime in an effort to shape the field and forcefeed consumers the same old political lineup. Obviously they are out of touch. People are sick and tired of the same old soup," Walls said in a statement.
In addition to Walls, who has run for governor, congressman and mayor in the last four years, political newcomer Christopher Cooper has also announced his candidacy. A civil rights attorney and former Marine, Cooper promises prominently on his website to use his legal expertise to void the parking meter lease if elected mayor.
Eric Zorn at the Chicago Tribune makes the point that these men, and any others who might declare their candidacies soon, will have an advantage over those who wait much longer:
A voter can sign as many mayoral nominating petitions as he or she wishes, but only the first one counts, as Chicago Board of Elections Commission spokesman Jim Allen reminds us. The second, third and all subsequent signatures are technically invalid and will be erased if challenged.
This means the first mayoral candidate to knock on the doors on your block not only stands the best chance of getting valid signatures, but it also means that any signatures he gathers above the minimum are signatures that other hopefuls can't get.
For more potential candidates, check out our slideshow here.