Sidelined Karen Lewis leaves media itching for a fight

Karen Lewis

Karen Lewis

With Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis sidelined by illness, the race for mayor of Chicago just got a whole lot less interesting.

What had been shaping up to be to an epic battle against a seemingly vulnerable Mayor Rahm Emanuel suddenly may have turned into a snoozer.

Now that the controversial, combative and charismatic Lewis is out of the political picture, will the media have a tougher time keeping Chicago viewers and readers interested in the mayoral race? Here’s what some prominent observers say:

Charles Thomas

Charles Thomas

Charles Thomas, ABC 7 political reporter: “Ms. Lewis removing herself from consideration as a possible candidate absolutely makes the 2015 mayoral race less interesting. There are very few leaders on the Chicago political stage — current mayor included — who could match her charisma. Whether she would have eventually decided to run or not, the process will miss her ability to register and motivate voters.”

Bruce Dold

Bruce Dold

Bruce Dold, Chicago Tribune editorial page editor: “No doubt that Karen Lewis and Rahm Emanuel would have had huge reader interest. But I think any race with Rahm Emanuel in it will interest readers. Plus, there’s still time for another high-profile challenger to get in.”

Mary Ann Ahern

Mary Ann Ahern

Mary Ann Ahern, NBC 5 political reporter: “Chicago voters love an election battle. However without a major player as Karen Lewis would have been, it will be a challenge to attract as much interest. Never say never — as we’ve seen before —we may find a surprise. Perhaps that’s wishful thinking . . .”

Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson, CBS 2 news anchor: “Not necessarily. It depends on who the final candidates end up being on the February ballot.”