I-Team: Will Rahm Run?

September 9, 2010 5:09:06 AM PDT
Relying on his own words, it seems a certainty that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will run for mayor. He has said publicly and privately for months that his dream was to return to Chicago and run for mayor, if and when his friend, Richard Daley, retired. And now that Mr. Daley has made that decision, the money says Emanuel will jump in.

After making some money in investment banking, Rahm Emanuel had the cash to win a Chicago Congressional seat in 2002. Even though Emanuel now works as Chief of Staff for Pres. Barack Obama, he still has a million dollars in his campaign fund, and that would be all his to plant as seed money in a run for Chicago mayor.

"Great to be home. You know, we have our home here and can't wait at some point to move back. Don't over-interpret anything though. Don't everybody get excited. You guys are way too excited. You've got to start drinking decaf," said Emanuel on a visit to Chicago in late April 2010, long before Mayor Daley's decision to call it quits.

Emanuel had come to Chicago to give a speech and was responding to questions about a statement he'd made to PBS host Charlie Rose that he aspires to be Chicago mayor.

At the White House currently, Rahm Emanuel is said to be considering whether his dream could come true sooner than he might have thought. President Obama's chief political advisor, David Axelrod, was among the Emanuel colleagues who was doing some talking Wednesday on ABC radio.

"I think Rahm has the personality that would make him succeed as a big city mayor. I did six of Mayor Daley's campaigns and mayoral campaigns all over the country, and the common element I find in successful mayors is they have larger-than-life personalities, they are big enough to handle hustle and bustle of big city politics and to deal with the tough issues that come up in city governments, and Rahm has that combination of skills and that personality and mindset to be a mayor if he chooses to go that route," Axelrod said.

Emanuel was scheduled to campaign for some metro Chicago congressional candidates this weekend, but Wednesday, he abruptly cancelled that trip.

Wednesday night in Naperville, Kevin Hynes says he will be among the first to know if Emanuel follows through and decides to run for mayor. Hynes, who runs an independent information technology firm out of his house, bought a few website address domains that Rahm Emanuel might want to use.

"I was actually watching the news, and I saw back in January that Rahm may run if Daley didn't, and I went out to check and see if it was available and it was and I just purchased it," said Hynes.

Hynes also says he may be distantly related to the famous Chicago political family but is not really into politics.

"Hoping that somebody from his campaign calls and he either wants to buy the domains and or my services. I'd be happy to do some it consulting for him if he needed it," said Hynes.

However, first, Emanuel will have to get past several coalitions being formed at city hall to stop him. And a Washington-based Progressive Change for Campaign committee petition drive that pledges not to support Rahm Emanuel in any future election, for mayor, governor or other office and blames the Democrats current 2010 situation on a weak Rahm Emanuel mentaility that says water down real reform at the urging of Republicans and corporations.

The man Emanuel has said he would like to succeed offered some advice to whoever takes his place.

"You have to love the people regardless of what they have to say about you. Maybe they disagree with you. You have to get up the next morning and go to work," said Daley.

"So, what does a guy like Rahm Emanuel have to do to win? Rahm Emanuel has to make friends, and that's probably the hardest thing he has to do in his life," political consultant Don Rose told ABC7 Chicago.

As Emanuel assesses whether now is the time to leave the White House-- right before the crucial mid-term national election-- others are already assessing him.

"Rahm, first of all, has not indicated he would run. He never served on city council, he never?I don't know the friends he can count on," said U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, a Democrat who represents residents in Chicago and the south suburbs.

There is a little more than two months to gather petition signatures and put a campaign structure together. That is far less daunting for a Chicago alderman or Cook County politician who decides to run for mayor than for the president's chief of staff 700 miles away.


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