The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Countdown to Rahmageddon: Emanuel Consolidates Power

By Kevin Robinson in News on Nov 9, 2010 2:00PM

Rahm as a hot pepper, via Lauri Apple.
As Rahm Emanuel comes closer to making a formal announcement of the inevitable, he's also taking steps to consolidate his power heading into the upcoming mayor election. To begin with, Rahm has hired Blake Sercye, an African American field organizer from the Quinn campaign. That move has several benefits for Emanuel. Taking Sercye off the market as a hired gun keeps a talented organizer with knowledge and connections in a critical community (Sercye is an Austin native) from going to work for a rival candidate. Sercye also helps counter charges that the campaign doesn't have support in the black community.

Aside from personnel moves, the Emanuel campaign is garnering cash and support from Chicago's business community, a source of strength for outgoing Mayor Daley. Crain's Chicago Business is reporting that Emanuel has the backing - and the bucks - of "such powerhouse executives as CME Group Inc.'s Craig Donohue, Glenn Tilton of United Continental Holdings Inc., John Canning of Madison Dearborn Partners LLC and real estate mogul Sam Zell." A confidant of Emanuel tells Crain's that he hope to amass a war chest of between $6 and $8 million in a bid to scare off other challengers for the mayor's seat. Emanuel is seen by the business community as "a guy who's going to do what he thinks is right and take no prisoners,” according to Groupon investor Eric Lefkofsky. And while Rahm is seen as being a very business-friendly candidate, not everything about him makes Chicago's moneyed interests happy. His role in the Obama administration's signature legislative victories, from health care reform to Wall Street regulation leaves a bad taste in their mouths.

Nonetheless, Mesirow Financial Holdings chairman James Tyree notes that Emanuel is perceived as being the candidate that has the credentials to take on city unions and work for a business-friendly climate in Chicago. Perhaps telling of that support is Emanuel's recent declaration that he'd like to phase out Chicago's so-called "head tax" of $4 a month per person while cutting the number of city inspectors working in departments. “There’s a proper role for inspections, a proper role for oversight, we can just do it smarter and more effective,” Emanuel told CBS2 while touring a local popcorn machine plant in the city.