The surprising entry of Stuart Opdycke into the Evanston mayor's race makes it almost certain Evanston will be going to the polls in late February. A mayoral primary is required unless there are only two candidates, and Plan Commission member Opdyche's announcement makes four, with possibly others waiting in the wings.
None of the others have made official announcements, but urban planner Jeanne Lindwall, an ECRD activist and a political ally of Judy Fiske who sued Ald. Cheryl Wollin after the last election, has been telling people for months that she is definitely running. My alderman, Liz Tisdahl, has recently made the same announcement to her fellow aldermen. DPOE board member Mark Tendam, who ran unsuccessfully for alderman against Eb Moran in 2005, also has been telling friends and associates that he is running. None of these are just rumors.
I was at a number of political events over the past few days and a persistent buzz is that CSNA president and Democratic activist Jeff Smith is running for mayor. A lot of us wish that were so, and I know many people have urged Jeff to do just that. He would get a lot of support. But while Jeff has not completely ruled it out, he is exploring other options.
Reportedly some current or former aldermen have also considered running, with the names of Steve Bernstein, Ann Rainey, and Delores Holmes popping up the most often. Would Liz's entry keep other aldermen out?
Meanwhile here in the 7th Ward, it looks like there will be an open seat. Former DPOE president John Zbesko, and Evanston Community Foundation leader Jane Grover are the names I consistently hear, but I have also heard others may also be considering a run.