Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Confirmed as Evanston party leader, Biss still quiet on reelection

Shun Graves/The Daily Northwestern
Mayor Daniel Biss still has not announced whether he will run for reelection.

Less than a year before the 2025 municipal election, Mayor Daniel Biss has yet to declare whether he’ll seek reelection, but he received a vote of approval from county Democrats last week.

On April 22, the Cook County Democrats’ central committee ratified Biss’ appointment to lead the Evanston Democratic party, he confirmed to The Daily. First nominated in February, Biss will succeed longtime committeeman Eamon Kelly.

Though Evanston’s municipal government is nonpartisan, the former state legislator will claim leadership of a powerful political apparatus in the heavily Democratic city.

“I’m appreciative of their confidence in me, honored to serve in this role, and excited to work hard to re-elect President Biden and support Democrats up and down the ticket this November,” Biss wrote in a statement to The Daily.

Biss’ confirmation arrives before hopefuls for mayor and City Council typically start exploring campaigns in the summer. Although Biss said he doesn’t know when he’ll announce if he will run, the first-term mayor has already amassed a $128,000 campaign fund after accumulating a significant haul late last year.

He told The Daily in January he would either run for reelection or leave public office “at least for the time being.” However,  the mayor has kept his fund open throughout his term. His latest quarterly report shows he brought in about $3,800 between Jan. 1 and March 31, $1,000 of which came from The Illinois Hospital Association PAC.

Biss also spent money on campaign software, which he said helps maintain his website and other campaign services.

Former mayoral candidate Sebastian Nalls, whom Biss defeated in 2021, said the relatively small influx in 2024 compared to the $64,000 infusion late last year indicates that contributors may have tried to donate before the end of 2023. Even so, Biss’ already-hefty coffers could give pause to anyone who seeks to oppose him, Nalls added.

“It prevents some of the lesser-known candidates, especially, from stepping into the race,” he said.

Still, that may not stop people from running, former mayor Steve Hagerty said. Biss’ big haul arrived on the heels of the contentious Ryan Field debate, when his tie-breaking vote allowing public-facing concerts at the rebuilt arena drew criticism from many residents. Such chagrin could remain a strong factor next year, Hagerty added.

Amid the Ryan Field uproar, Evanston resident Parielle Davis formed “Better than Biss,” a political committee aiming to topple the mayor by fielding an opponent in 2025. 

“I’d be surprised if we don’t see an opponent to the mayor who is running against Ryan Field, and the deciding vote that Mayor Biss cast in support of that,” Hagerty said.

The campaign still has not appeared in the state elections database, and Davis did not respond to requests for comment.

Affordable housing, economic development and public safety will rank among the top issues for Evanston voters, Hagerty said. The city will offer outdoor events in the summer where potential candidates can talk to voters and explore running for a spot on the council dais. Campaigns will pick up in the fall, he added, and residents will go to the polls on April 1, 2025.

Biss told The Daily he remains focused on city policy such as the Envision Evanston 2045 project.

“I think it’s an extraordinary opportunity to do something really meaningful and important for the city of Evanston,” Biss said. “And that’s because of the role that it could play for sustainability, for affordability, for economic development, for communal vibrancy.”

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