Quinn pushes ahead with bid for term limits for mayor in Chicago

SPRINGFIELD (Illinois News Network) – Backers of term limits for Chicago’s mayor say they have more than enough signatures to get the question on the November ballot, but it still may not end up there.

Former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is leading the charge for a two-term limit, which could block Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s bid for a third term.

Quinn delivered the petition with more than 86,000 signatures to City Hall, but he expects challenges.

“You know the way Chicago works,” Quinn said. “City Hall, especially, they may try everything they can to attack our signatures and try and keep us off the ballot.”

Quinn argues that Chicago is the only major U.S. city without mayoral term limits.

“The ten largest cities: New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, they all have term limits on their mayor but Chicago has none,” he said. “We want to give voters a chance to vote on that important question.”

The referendum may not make the ballot. The Chicago City Council already put the maximum of three other non-binding referendums on it. Quinn said he expects City Hall will try to block the question from making it to the voters. Quinn has said the limit on referendums doesn’t apply to to binding measures brought by voters.

“If Mayor Rahm Emanuel doesn’t want a term limit on himself, he can campaign about it,” Quinn said. “But he shouldn’t attack the right of the people to put it on the ballot.”

The petitions were submitted to the city clerk with more than 86,000 signatures, which is more than the legally required 33,962. Quinn said they made sure to have enough signatures to withstand legal challenges.

“I’m sure they’ll try every trick in the book to keep the referendum off the ballot,” he said. “But we’re bound and determined to give voters in Chicago, the third largest city in America, a chance to vote on this question.”

As for the benefits of term limits, Quinn argues the two-term limit would give people a better chance to run for office without facing incumbents with huge war chests. If successful, the referendum could block Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s bid for a third term in 2019.