President Obama comes to Chicago Thursday to help a few Illinois Democrats running for statewide and national offices. But the president will have to be careful to avoid stepping into a wild Chicago mayors race.
Officially Obama is here to fund raise for Alexi Giannoulias, the 34-year-old Treasurer who wants to follow in his senatorial footsteps. But he's also expected to toss an endorsement to Governor Pat Quinn while he's here, according to Lynn Sweet from the Sun-Times. (He reportedly taped a radio ad for Quinn that will begin airing Monday.)
The former White House Chief of Staff arrived in Chicago Monday to launch his bid for mayor, and his face has been on the front page of just about every newspaper in town since he arrived.
Obama hasn't endorsed Emanuel for mayor, but he has given a vote of confidence to the man. But Thursday is about Giannoulias' campaign, not Emanuel's.
The president plans to attend multiple fund raisers for Giannoulias, beginning with a $500 to $2400 per person event at the Drake Hotel in the Gold Coast. Later he'll go to a private, $15,000 a plate dinner with a group of Chicago socialites. One lucky donor to the Giannoulias campaign will get a chance to attend that dinner.
Last time Obama came to Chicago to help Giannoulias fund raise he brought in better than $1 million for the senate candidate, largely because of his popularity in the city.
That could be slightly different Thursday as the president's image has slipped lately with Chicagoans. According to a Chicago Tribune/WGN poll his approval rating in the city is just 51 percent, down from 59 percent last year.