Mayor Rahm Emanuel was faced with a Hobson’s choice for committeeman in his home 47th Ward: incumbent Eugene Schulter, a Daley-era holdover, or challenger Paul Rosenfeld, an ally of rookie alderman Ameya Pawar. So Emanuel did what any boss would do: he put his own candidate in the race.
The Chicago News Cooperative is reporting that Emanuel’s allies circulated petitions for Peter Coffey, director of government affairs for DePaul University.
Tom Bowen, the head of Emanuel’s New Chicago Committee, notarized petitions for Coffey to appear on the ballot.
The petition circulators for Coffey included Jeremy Massey, who state campaign-finance records show was paid recently for campaign help by the New Chicago Committee. Emanuel formed the group to support political allies in the City Council election.
While Emanuel has been open about his backing for many allies, attending fundraisers for favored candidates, Bowen declined comment on the 47th Ward contest this week.
Coffey also received help circulating petitions from at least six activists with ties to Ald. Patrick O’Connor’s 40th Ward Democrats, according to city political group rosters and candidacy papers that Coffey filed with the Cook County Clerk’s office. O’Connor is Emanuel’s City Council floor leader and almost certainly would not direct his political foot soldiers to get involved in the fractious 47th Ward campaign without the mayor’s guidance. He did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday.
Although they live five blocks apart and appeal to the same young professionals constituency, Emanuel and Pawar have never been allies. In the mayoral race, Emanuel endorsed Pawar’s opponent, Tom O’Donnell, who was Schulter’s handpicked successor. Pawar, who is still struggling to take over the ward from Schulter, is seen as a politically naïve fluke by many veteran politicians. Now the hapless freshman doesn’t just have to fight the old alderman for control of his own ward, he has to fight the mayor, too.
Last month, Pawar was quoted as saying, "I absolutely love my job. What I don't like is the politics."
Maybe this will teach him that an alderman's job is politics.
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