Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that he won’t run for a third term in 2019, prompting praise for his “positive difference” from his former White House boss.
Emanuel said at a press conference that “this has been the job of a lifetime, but it is not a job for a lifetime.”
The mayor said that he and his wife Amy, who have three children who have left for college, “look forward to writing the next chapter in our journey together.”
“I will always be here for the future of this great city. Not as mayor but in the most important role anyone can play,” he added. “As a citizen.”
Former President Obama quickly issued a statement through his office lauding Emanuel as “a tireless and brilliant public servant.”
“His work to improve our schools is paying dividends by helping our teachers and students achieve faster academic improvement than students in 96 percent of America’s school districts. The announcement to establish universal pre-K in Chicago, on top of universal kindergarten, will give all our kids the best possible start,” Obama said. “And his implementation of debt-free community college will help prepare all our young people for the new economy. With record job growth and record employment over his terms in office, Chicago is better and stronger for his leadership, and I was a better president for his wise counsel at a particularly perilous time for our country.”
Obama continued, “I’ve been blessed to call Rahm my friend. Whatever he chooses to do next, I know he’ll continue to make a positive difference, just as he has throughout his career in public service. And Michelle and I wish Rahm and Amy all the best as they consider this next phase in their lives.”
Emanuel, 58, first won election to the mayor’s office in 2011. He is a former congressman, but didn’t indicate whether he’s looking to return to federal office.
The news came as a surprise as Emanuel did not yet face a formidable challenger in 2019 and had more than $10 million amassed in his campaign war chest.