The gossip and political maneuvering have been endless since Mayor Rahm Emmanuel announced that he would not run for re-election.

And part of that gossip and maneuvering revolves around whether our neighbor Toni Preckwinkle should enter the race.

There is just one answer to that question, and the answer is a resounding YES.

She is finishing her second term as president of the Cook County Board, and she is running this fall for what she has said would be her final term.

OK, Toni, you have four more years to give to civic duty? Give it to the city that needs your knowhow.

Fix the city as you have being fixing the county health system. Straighten out the city budget as you have been working to keep the county in line. We know, some people say the business over the large soda tax demonstrates some failing. But we think just the opposite. It demonstrates a toughness to try things and a willingness to take the heat. Every idea in our compromise-making society does not succeed, but we need someone who is willing to try.

Toni is a real Chicago story of guts and care. She fought her way to be Alderman of the 4th Ward against the “organization” because she cared about her community and what was happening to it. And she spent the better part of two decades demonstrating her dedication to needs of the citizens of her ward.

She carried that same concern into the County where the “community” includes the healthcare and justice systems, where she has been a steadfast advocate for reform. And now she runs the “organization” she ran against.

Chicago’s next mayor must be someone with political smarts and toughness; Toni has both qualities in abundance.

The Herald and Toni had plenty of fights when she was the alderman. And we can vouch for her toughness.