Hitting the Street |
After departing the White House last weekend, Rahm Emanauel started a listening tour in Chicago to promote his run for mayor. He made stops in Pilsen, south Loop, and Belmont. Rahm was no where to be seen when Obama was in town.
That was the conclusion of more than one commentator after Dart ducked out of theon Wednesday morning. It results from this curious phenomenon: no one seems to want Emanuel as mayor, but everyone assumes he’ll win. Labor doesn’t like Emanuel. Liberals don’t like Emanuel. Latinos don’t like Emanuel. Blacks want one of their own in the mayor’s office. Only the business community wants Emanuel, and most of them don’t even live in Chicago. Are this city’s elections so rigged that a candidate nobody likes can engineer his own victory? (Yes.)
Now that the Rahmfather, as John Kass calls him, has eliminated so many powerful rivals -- Luis Gutierrez, Jesse Jackson Jr., Tom Dart, Edward Burke, Richard M. Daley -- the Rahm-o-phobes are now looking at Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Earlier this month, Madigan told WBEZ’s 848 she’s not running for mayor. A lot of powerful politicians are now hoping that this opening will change her mind, writes Greg Hinz in Crain’s Chicago Business.
Democratic ward bosses and aldermen … shudder at the thought of having to deal with a strong-willed Mayor Rahmbo.
But now … the committeemen have no other champion on the horizon. Unless, that is, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan changes her mind and runs — something she has said won't happen and which I very much doubt will occur.
Frankly, it shouldn't be over. The last thing Chicago needs is an untested Mayor Emanuel to waltz into City Hall without detailing what he'll do and how he'll do it, without running the gauntlet that any big-city mayor needs to run to prove himself. And look for those committeemen who don't like Rahmbo to fund a legal challenge to his Presidency. But Mr. Emanuel can allow himself a smile today. His path to victory just got a lot, lot easier.
Whether or not there's a deal in the works, one thing is certain: Emanuel is bound to benefit unless another major player enters the race … some say Dart’s decision to take a pass could prompt Madigan to reconsider. She might even be under pressure to do so from the Stop Rahm movement -- a group of Democratic ward bosses liberated by Daley's impending retirement and searching for an alternative to Emanuel, whom they view as a younger, more energetic version of the dictatorial Daley.
Political observers are hearing that Madigan, the daughter of House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, could wait to see who is elected governor on Tuesday.
If it's Republican Bill Brady, she's likely to stay put and launch her four-year campaign for the office she has long coveted: governor of Illinois. If it's Democrat Pat Quinn, the mayor's race may be a possibility.
Of course, writes the Sun-Times’ Michael Sneed, if Quinn loses, he’ll need a new job:
The turn of the screw: Overheard on an elevator from a Gov. Quinn supporter: "If Quinn loses the [gubernatorial election], he should run for mayor of Chicago!"
I'll offer a prediction right now. This news -- Sheriff Tom Dart won't run for Chicago mayor -- vastly increases the odds that Rahm Emanuel, with his huge campaign warchest, will not only win the February 22 mayoral "primary," but make it probable that he'll take more than 50 percent of the vote, eliminating the need for a run-off election on April 5.
This Halloween, I'm going to dress as a 5-foot-8-inch, 147 pound ballet dancer. Because right now, there's no more frightening creature in Chicago.