A day after announcing he is not running for re-election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is getting back to business as usual Wednesday.
Mayor Emanuel stopped by the new full-day pre-kindergarten classrooms as Brownell Elementary, just one day after his shocking announcement that he would not be seeking a third term. Emanuel said that he expects whoever follows him as mayor to follow through on universal full-day pre-kindergarten.
Emanuel was emotional as he made the announcement with his wife by his side. Political strategist David Axelrod said Emanuel’s decision was more personal than political.
WATCH: Mayor Emanuel announces he will not seek re-election
Emanuel and the first lady dropped their youngest daughter off at college this weekend, and he finalized his decision just Tuesday night.
“In this business, people rarely make the mistake of leaving,” Axelrod said. “It’s rarely a mistake to leave too soon. It’s often a mistake to try and stay too long.”
WATCH: Moments that shaped Mayor Emanuel’s career
After the mayor’s announcement, a group of faith leaders gathered with Reverend Jesse Jackson calling on anyone who might want to join the race for mayor now to put forth an urban agenda. There are at least 12 candidates currently running for mayor.
Emanuel is the 55th mayor of the city of Chicago and has served in the position since 2011. He followed Richard M. Daley, who was mayor for more than 20 years. Emanuel was a member of the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1998, eventually serving as Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy. He served three terms as the U.S. Representative for Illinois’ 5th District, and then served as White House Chief of Staff to President Obama for part of his first term.
Emanuel’s decision leaves the candidate field wide open, analysts said, and drastically changes the landscape of next year’s election. Election Day is February 26, 2019.