Someone emailed me when I was in LA, cocerned that Karen and Chicago crew weren't challenging Randi enough - that was before the Common Core shootout (AFT14 Report - Common Core Debate - Epic Battle B....).
We pretty much got word from Chicago that Karen Lewis will be off and running for Mayor against Rahmbo. Karen often points out that she is not the creator but the creation of CORE which has such a large talent pool. You really have to go to an AFT convention and see Unity and CORE people in action to get the complete picture.
EIA's Mike Antonucci speculates a bit.
It probably wouldn’t be wise to bet on Lewis, but she has a puncher’s chance of toppling Emanuel. If she wins, she would be the first labor union president to hold such a high elected office, since, well, this guy.... Will Karen Lewis Be the Next Mayor of Chicago?
If neither gets a majority in the Feb. 2015 election, there will be a runoff in May. That would be fun, since it would come just as the CTU would be about to negotiate a new contract. Guessing is that CTU VP Jesse Sharkey would take over, though some also look at the always masterful Jackson Potter. Both are impressive.
But given how amazing so many people from the CORE/CTU team we've met have been, I bet they have a lot of possibilities.
Mike found an interesting nugget to gnaw on:
A spur to all this is an automated poll commissioned by the Chicago Sun-Times that shows Lewis with an 9-point lead over Emanuel. The poll’s methodology is problematic, but Emanuel has high negatives no matter how you measure them. Dave Weigel of Slate suggests the poll actually underestimates Lewis’s support, adding what seems to me to be an insulting evaluation of the city’s African-American voters:Why does Mike think it insulting to assume some black voters don't know Karen is black? Most Jewish voters don't know Karen is Jewish. (In her first union election in 2010, one Chicago wag told me the only thing the opposition didn't try to use against Karen was anti-Semitism.
(Lewis) trailed by only 3 points with white voters, led by 4 points with Hispanics, and led by 18 points with black voters—a margin that might increase if Lewis ran and black voters discovered that she, too, was black.
Here Mike uses an Ed Notes post to make a point:
Lewis has serious weaknesses. She would be, almost by definition, a single-issue candidate running against a well-seasoned, if greatly disliked, machine Democrat. And last week’s AFT Convention demonstrated that her pull within her own union has been overestimated.When 2700 delegates show up and 800 or more are Unity Caucus from NYC, who along with their allies in NY State plus others, make up over 50% of the delegates at the convention, control every aspect of the convention, expecting Karen to gain much support there and compare it to the mayoral race doesn't make sense.
Nevertheless, voter emotion has carried many a challenger to victory over an entrenched incumbent, and teacher union officers often have electoral success at the local and state legislative level.
If Weigel has some evidence that black voters don’t know that Karen Lewis is black, he ought to present it to the rest of the world.
They fare less well in statewide or national elections, although the sample size is small. NEA’s new president, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, ran for Congress in 1998 against a very vulnerable one-term incumbent Republican and lost by 10 points. The Alabama Education Association’s powerful executive secretary Paul Hubbert ran for governor in 1990. He lost by four points to the incumbent Republican.
I haven’t researched it recently, but there was a general dearth of national candidates who have ever even been members of a labor union.
It probably wouldn’t be wise to bet on Lewis, but she has a puncher’s chance of toppling Emanuel. If she wins, she would be the first labor union president to hold such a high elected office, since, well, this guy.