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Rahm Emanuel Jumps Into the Chicago Mayoral Race as the Front-Runner

4 years ago
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Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel "officially" launched his Chicago mayoral bid on Saturday -- a formality since he has been campaigning for five weeks -- casting himself as an anti-tax, crime fighting, pro-education candidate.
He pledged no tax hikes despite the city's budget crisis, making communities safe from pervasive gang violence, reducing the award of no-bid contracts, and bringing about improvements in city schools.
"Chicago is where I was born, and where my children were raised. They are the fourth generation of my family to live here," Emanuel said at his announcement speech in a gym at a North Side Chicago elementary school, re-establishing his Chicago credentials after moving to Washington in 2009 to serve in the Obama administration.
Rahm Emanuel"Only the opportunity to help President Obama as his chief of staff could have pried me away from Chicago. And only the opportunity to lead this city could have pried me away from the President's side. Because he knows and loves Chicago, President Obama supported my decision – for which I am grateful," Emanuel said.
Emanuel's words were carefully crafted since Obama has not made an endorsement-but has said Emanuel will make an excellent mayor. Obama also hosted an East Wing send-off for Emanuel on Oct. 1 intended to give him a running start in his mayoral bid through free media coverage generated by the event, underscored by his encouraging words.
Emanuel gave up his House seat to work for Obama in a district anchored on Chicago's North Side, which included Coonley Elementary where he made his Saturday speech, flanked by family and supporters.
Emanuel return to Chicago with questions raised about his residency status by his rivals because he had rented out his home when he moved to Washington.
At this stage, several polls make Emanuel the front-runner in the contest to replace Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley -- in part because of his celebrity status, which has brought him massive coverage in Chicago news outlets, and because other rivals either decided not to run or are taking their time getting their campaigns organized.
Others in the race include former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.) who will formalize her bid on Nov. 20; Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and state Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago) who make it official Sunday and City Clerk Miguel Del Valle attorney Gery Chico, the former City Colleges chief who jumped in the race without an exploratory phase.
Alluding to Chicago's cut-throat politics, where race and ethnicity play a role, underscored by ward and regional rivalries,Emanuel in his speech suggested that the "we cannot accept a campaign based on negative attacks and character assassination."
Emanuel began his bid a few days after Daley stunned the Chicago political establishment last September with his surprise announcement that he would not seek a seventh term. Back in Chicago a few days after Obama gave him a grand good-bye, Emanuel has been on a city-wide "Tell it Like it Is" listening tour through Chicago's neighborhoods.
Emanuel started his mayoral run with a major financial advantage over any rivals because he is able to use for the mayoral race the $1.175 million he had in his House warchest. The one-time professional fund-raiser has enormous fund-raising ability and on Nov. 4 traveled to Beverly Hills, where his brother, Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel, helped him raise cash.
In his speech, Emanuel, always a staunch Daley loyalist, praised Daley's near 22 year tenure. While making it clear it's time for improvements, Emanuel said, "No one could love this city more than Mayor Daley,"
Emanuel starts a TV commercial blitz on Monday. His media consultants AKPD Message and Media, is the firm founded by White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod.
Chicago's Feb. 22 primary is non-partisan. If no candidate gets more than fifty percent of the vote, the top two vote getters will face an April 5 runoff. Nominating petitions-with 12,500 valid signatures-are due no later than Nov. 22.

Filed Under: Rahm Emanuel

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17 Comments

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allisonisa39e

After 40 years of the Daleys ruling Chicago why not try another similar one. Rahm can become just like Daley. Chicago can become just like Detroit.

December 29 2010 at 10:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ziegler21wp

Rahm, Go get'em. I love my own home town, New York City, but I would vote for you if I could. And I would vote early and often!

November 15 2010 at 12:32 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
catalogsplus

Rahm Emmanuel a crime fighter??? LOL Oh my goodness, I cannot stop laughing. Please elaborate on your vast crime-fighting experience, Mr. Emmanuel... crickets chirping...

November 14 2010 at 11:55 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
George

I hope the voters of Chicago decide differently.....say no to Rahm !

November 14 2010 at 9:29 PM Report abuse +14 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to George's comment
pulsefire

What are the odds on that happening?

November 14 2010 at 9:32 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
Trouble

This is a clear example of politics at its worst. . .Emmanuel knew he was the front runner waaaaay before us honest voters did. Money and power, that's the ticket, not integrity, ethics, and working for the people.

November 14 2010 at 7:47 PM Report abuse +20 rate up rate down Reply
dc walker

Chicago has a chance to clean up its image of a tight inside corrupt group running their city. Break loose Chicago find an unknown, qualified leader and maybe the Olympics will see the city as a safe and great place to bring the athletes of the world to come visit.

November 14 2010 at 5:16 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
catalogsplus

Is it too much to ask for the very highest level of CIA and FBI background checks on all those campigning for any high offices and publishing the results publicly??? Just think how many candidates would be eliminiated beforehand.

November 14 2010 at 5:08 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to catalogsplus's comment
Tom

Down on this! What does the CIA have to do with internal affairs in the U. S.???

November 15 2010 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bobodean

Rahm Emanuel is just what Chicago deserves...more corruption. Chicago people never cease to amaze me. Keep electing the same people or same kind of people and wonder why your city is broke and gang crime/violence is running rampant. Go ahead, elect him and tell us how much has changed a year later. My prediction:much talk and little action, and more gun restrictions.

November 14 2010 at 4:56 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Smiles R free!

Yeah, and why is Emmanuel the front runner? I'm betting pres BO's camp made a phone call to the real contenders like Thomas Dart, to "encourage them not to run!' You can take the dirty politician out of Chicago, but you can't take the "Chicago" out of the dirty politician. AND what is the motivation?? It assures BO job security, if he isn't re-elected.

November 14 2010 at 4:49 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
christierandall

you are both totally wrong about Chicago. Name me one dishonest thing Rahm has been involved in...there isn't anything. He is a good guy...hardworking and very intelligent. He comes from a highly educated family. It is so easy to throw around words like "dirty politics" without any backing. Illinois is ranked 47th when it comes to corrupt states...top ten is: Tennessee, Virginia, Missippi, Delaware,NC, Florida, Nevada,Pa, SC, and Oklahoma. It is a shame that if you come from Chicago people think you must be related to Al Capone.

November 14 2010 at 3:39 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to christierandall's comment
dc walker

Axelrod needs to forget about it.

November 15 2010 at 9:55 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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