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Rahm's Hurdles to Becoming Mayor

By Kevin Robinson in News on Sep 9, 2010 3:40PM

Along with the news that Mayor Daley is calling it quits, the media has been pretty occupied with the notion of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel running for mayor in Chicago. And while the specter of "Rahmbo" running looms large over any decision that a potential mayoral candidate might make, there's a group in Chicago that is getting organized against Emanuel. Two key political leaders from those groups - Congressman Bobby Rush and Alderman Roberto Maldonado - have both taken public swipes at Emanuel. “I don’t know the friends he can count on that’s beyond his little network of people. ... If he’s gonna run, he’s gonna have to leave the White House — he should have left last night … to try and get acquainted with the citizens of Chicago,” Rush told the Sun-Times, noting that he intends to work to make sure there is a strong, viable black candidate for mayor. And Maldonado lashed out at Emanuel, accusing him of standing in the way of immigration reform.

And while Emanuel might have a sizable war chest in place for an unannounced candidate, ($1.2 million, according to Capitol Fax's Rich Miller), Lynn Sweet at the Sun-Times notes that Emanuel might not have the base to make a run for mayor. "Just because he works in the White House does not mean [Emanuel] has a key to the mayor's office," 28th Ward Ald. Ed Smith told the Sum-Times. In Smith's quote is a simple fact of Chicago politics, which Emanuel no doubt understands well: to be mayor of Chicago, any candidate will have to navigate a confusing world of ethnic and class politics, unifying groups that might otherwise be at odds with each other into a broad electoral coalition. And Rich Miller (who's full of wisdom today) notes that all of this speculation might just damage Emanuel's clout in Washington.