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Chicago Teachers Union Endorses County Board President For Mayor

The Chicago Teachers Union, which had clashed repeatedly with current mayor Rahm Emanuel, is throwing its support behind Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for the city's next mayor.

That's according to the Chicago Tribune.

The teachers' union said on Wednesday that it planned to make a joint endorsement Thursday with two other public-sector unions, SEIU Healthcare Illinois and SEIU Local 73. The endorsement means the union can officially use its war chest to support Preckwinkle, who is also a former high school history teacher.

Preckwinkle-Chicago-blog.jpg

Emanuel announced in September that he was not seeking reelection to a third term. During his tenure, he repeatedly clashed with the teachers' union, especially its former president, Karen Lewis, over school closures, the teacherĀ contract, charter schools, and general school funding. The seven-day 2012 Chicago Teachers Union strike happened on Emanuel's watch.

Emanuel was forced into a run-off in the 2015 mayoral contest by Cook County commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who got heavy support—and money—from the Chicago Teachers Union.

The field to replace Emanuel in the Feb. 26 contest is crowded, with the Tribune counting as many as 16 people who have officially declared their candidacies or expressed interest in the mayoral job.

Many of the candidates have direct connections to the city's school system. Among them: Paul Vallas, the former city budget director and CEO of the city's public schools; Gery Chico, a former school board president; and La Shawn Ford, a real estate developer and former CPS teacher.

Troy LaRaviere, a former elementary school principal and one of Emanuel's fiercest critics, dropped out of the race, according to the Tribune.

Photo caption: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle speaks at a news conference in Chicago onĀ Jan. 26, 2012. --M. Spencer Green/AP

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