When he first ran for Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel’s greatest obstacle was his residency status. An appellate court ruling four weeks before the February 2011 election tossed him off the ballot. It took an emergency intervention from the Illinois Supreme Court to reinstate him. In 2015, facing criticism of his public style, he donned a sweater to convince Chicagoans that under that often caustic exterior, he’s a regular guy. But as 2019 looms, higher hurdles await this re-election run.

Candidates lining up to challenge him include Garry McCarthy, his former police superintendent; Paul Vallas, a budget guru and former Chicago Public Schools CEO; and Troy LaRaviere, an ousted CPS principal with a substantial following.

These aren’t gadflies. They are insiders who will expose Emanuel’s potential vulnerabilities on crime, city finances, CPS and the Laquan McDonald case. They want to force a substantive debate on Chicago’s future. The Illinois governor’s race has dominated headlines for months. But the mayoral race of February 2019 is at least as intriguing.

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