A short five years ago Rahm Emanuel recruited Debbie Halvorson to run for Congress. Back then he lobbied moderate Democrats, even pro-gun Democrats like Halvorson.
Halvorson recalls Emanuel trying to entice her by boasting of congressional delegation trips paid for by the federal government to take members of Congress to places like Paris. She ran in 2008 and won, but by the time she ran for re-election in 2010 and had voted 91 percent of the time with President Barack Obama including for the health care bill, she lost her re-election.
Fast forward to 2013 and the special election to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in the 2nd District. After losing to Jackson in November, Halvorson now has a target on her back because of her A-plus rating by the NRA.
What's more New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his super PAC are spending at least $2 million in this contest to support candidate Robin Kelly.
Where’s Chicago’s mayor in all of this? When asked if Bloomberg talked to Emanuel about the 2nd District race, Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said only that "we are not coordinating with them.”
Kelly this week denied ties to Bloomberg and his political action committee. "It's ridiculous," she said Monday. "I don't know him. He doesn't know me. I have not been in touch with him. You can't even legally be in touch with them. So it's untrue, that's all I can tell you."
The 2nd District special election is a major race, partially in the city and partially in the suburbs, and Emanuel appears to be on the sidelines while the New York mayor is playing a major role.
Some have said, though, that Emanuel is very much involved. Sources told Ward Room Emanuel has called candidates asking them to consider stepping aside.
Sen. Toi Hutchinson withdrew over the weekend, and Patrick Brutus, a city worker, bowed out Tuesday.
Insiders also note Emanuel is in a tight spot with Ald. Anthony Beale being a leading candidate. Emanuel does not want to be perceived as turning on one of his alderman, especially with Ald. Carrie Austin, Michelle Harris and John Pope all supporting Beale.