First lady Michelle Obama’s star status on the 2016 campaign trail is prompting top Democrats back home in Illinois to ready an effort to recruit her to run for the Senate or mayor of Chicago.
Should she run and win, Obama would join only Hillary Rodham Clinton in the rare class of former first ladies to swap out the “volunteer” public service job for an elected position.
The burgeoning effort comes despite Obama’s inclination to leave elective politics behind when her husband’s two terms are up in January, according to National Journal.
“There is no person in politics that I think Democrats, independents, and Republicans would love to see take on public service more than the first lady,” Thomas Bowen, a former top aide to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, told NJ’s Karyn Bruggeman.
He said he’d encourage her to run. “The answer is yes. We would encourage her and put pressure on her,” said Bowen, adding, “But we are also kind of realistic in our expectations and take her at her word that it’s not something she wants to do right now. That doesn’t mean it won’t ever be an option in the future, and we will wait faithfully for her.”
According to the report, Emanuel’s seat could open in 2019, and Sen. Dick Durbin is considering a gubernatorial bid in 2018.
“Obviously she’d be qualified to run for just about any office up and down the ticket, but I think she has consistently talked about not having any interest in political office,” Illinois Democratic Party Spokesman Steve Brown said.
The Obama’s will remain in the public eye when they leave the White House because they will be staying in Washington where their daughter will be wrapping up high school.
On Monday, the president said that he and his wife will stay involved in policy, along with his vice president.
“I’m looking forward to not only laying the groundwork for the next administration to pick up the baton and run with it, but I know Joe and Jill and I and Michelle will all continue to be involved after we’ve left this office in making sure that this works,” said Obama.