The mayor and County Board President Toni Preckwinkle say attorney Blake Sercye has their endorsement in that race. The area's top Democrats have ignited a controversy, endorsing a young man they believe is a can't-miss.
"He has the spirit, the values to bring reform and change to county Government," Emanuel said.
Emanuel and Preckwinkle said 27-year-old Sercye's values are what convinced them to endorse the political newcomer for Cook County commissioner representing the city's West Side and near western suburbs.
"Those values are what led me to graduate from Fenwick in Oak Park, to attend Princeton and graduate with honors and to get my law degree from the University of Chicago," Sercye said.
Sercye is opposed by businessman Ron Lawless, activist Brenda Smith, former Chicago alderman Ike Carothers and attorney Richard Boykin in the March 18 primary. Carothers served federal prison time for corruption. Boykin, who is Congressman Danny Davis' former chief of staff - said Tuesday the Emanuel/Preckwinkle endorsement of Sercye will only help the ex-convict in the race.
"A vote for anybody else, other than Boykin, is a vote for Ike Carothers," said Boykin.
"I hope that he's right. I hope it does help me," Carothers said.
Carothers said the mayor should butt out and focus on city services.
"I think there's a lot of other things the mayor could be doing, but he decided to get involved in a race that's really down ballot, which is a little bit interesting because this is the county board. This is not city council," Carothers said.
Preckwinkle said she wasn't worried the Sercye endorsement might help Carothers.
"I'm going to work hard for Blake and expect him to win this race," Preckwinkle said.
Emanuel left the endorsement session without taking questions. Sercye defended the mayor, who he called his "mentor."
"He's made some tough decisions. He's made decisions that I know people in communities that I represent may not be entirely on board with. But I think people also know that Mayor Emanuel is working hard for the people even if you disagree with him," said Sercye.
Sercye was a political director in Emanuel's 2011 campaign for mayor. President Preckwinkle said her own and the mayor's political funds would donate more than $50,000 each to Sercye's campaign.