Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley shocked the political world this afternoon when he announced he would not seek reelection to a seventh term in February.
"The truth is I have been thinking about this for the past several months," Daley, 68, told reporters at City Hall. "In the end this is a personal decision, no more, no less."
Daley’s approval ratings have slumped to their lowest levels in his 21 years in office, according to a Chicago Tribune poll released in July. Only 37 percent of voters approved of his job performance, while 53 percent said they didn’t want him to run for another term.
His wife, Maggie, is also suffering from metastatic breast cancer.
A number of challengers had already announced plans to run against Daley, though no clear successor had emerged. His withdrawal from the race will likely lead to an expanded pool of candidates. The filing deadline in Chicago is Nov. 22.
Among Daley's possible successors is White House chief of staff and Chicago-native Rahm Emanuel , who has previously expressed interest in the office.
"I hope Mayor Daley seeks reelection. I will work and support him if he seeks reelection. But if Mayor Daley doesn't, one day I would like to run for mayor of the City of Chicago," Emanuel told PBS’ Charlie Rose in April. "That's always been an aspiration of mine even when I was in the House of Representatives."
Daley is the son of Richard J. Daley, who was also mayor of Chicago for 21 years, from 1955 to 1976.