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Chicagoist's "Top 10 of 2010:" #6 - The Countdown to Rahmageddon

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 28, 2010 8:00PM

Image via kosher ham

Mayor Daley’s announcement that he wouldn’t seek a seventh term rocked the city to its foundation. But almost immediately after Daley uttered the words that would lead to the first truly open mayoral election in a generation, speculation began as to who would run and who would drop out. And then Rahm Emanuel moved back to Chicago and rendered all that moot within a few weeks with a campaign that could have been lifted directly from Daley’s playbook.

Emanuel’s campaign strategy was simple: resign as White House Chief of Staff; move back to Chicago; shake hands, kiss babies and listen to the electorate complain throughout the city; ignore the other candidates; raise a ton of cash; don’t let the public see you get angry. Emanuel’s access to deep-pocketed donors, his name recognition and the bickering between other candidates culled the tumbleweed of mayoral candidates in fairly short order to a more manageable slate of flawed candidates trying to run as “reformers” whose attacks of Emanuel have bounced off him like arrows off a tank.

The candidate whom most pundits thought could actually make Emanuel sweat — Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart — dropped out the race, citing family concerns (although privately the prospect of raising the funds necessary to go toe-to-toe with Emanuel also weighed in Dart’s decision). Sensing that the mayoral campaign would become academic, the media started speculating. The Sun-Times even seemed hell-bent on floating the notion of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan running against Emanuel, even when she said otherwise.

The only excitement to come out of Emanuel’s slow march to the Fifth Floor has come from the recently concluded residency challenges, which seemed more geared towards casting doubt as to whether Emanuel was “Chicago enough” for some voters than it was discrediting his residency bona fides. With polls showing Emanuel holding commanding leads over Gery Chico, with James Meeks dropping out of the race (the one other surprise of this campaign for us), and with Carol Moseley Braun and Danny Davis still vying to be a “consensus Black candidate” in a campaign in which race is low on the list of importance, the “Countdown to Rahmageddon” is a campaign that could only have the current Elective Majesty at City Hall nod his head in respect for its efficiency.