In a bittersweet development for conservatives and gun rights supporters in Chicago, the city’s Mayor Richard M. Daley made the surprising announcement that he will step down when his term ends, after more than 20 years in power. However, Rahm Emanuel, the political arch-enemy of many conservatives, has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Daley.
"I’ve always believed that every person, especially public officials, must understand when it’s time to move on," the mayor said during a news conference at City Hall. "For me, that time is now."
Among the reasons for Daley’s decision, commentators have mentioned his wife’s deteriorating health and a series of political setbacks, including a failed bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games and the Supreme Court’s vote earlier this year to strike down the city’s long-standing handgun ban.
Daley has become known as a vocal proponent of gun control during his tenure.
It appears that all eyes are now turning to Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s controversial chief of staff, who had previously been quoted as saying he would like to run for mayor of Chicago.
He still has some time to make up his mind as the mayoral general election is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2011.