Rahm Emanuel and Mayor Daley at the opening of the Art Institute's Modern Wing in 2009. Photo courtesy www.anthonyjstewart.com.
A Sunday fundraiser that was to include an appearance by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been cancelled, fueling speculation that he's mulling a run for mayor of Chicago.
The event for Rep. Debbie Halvorson has been rescheduled for Sept. 26.
The cancellation comes just about 24 hours after Mayor Richard Daley's decision not to seek a seventh term.
A senior Obama administration official told the Washington Post he'd be "schocked if (Emanuel) doesn't run."
Matt Drudge's "Drudge Report" leads with a headline, "New Mayor of Chicagoland?" under a picture of a giddy Rahm.
David Axelrod, the White House Senior Adviser went on MSNBC's Morning Joe and refuted the mayoral aspirations of just about everyone in the West Wing EXCEPT for Rahm.
From a bird's eye view, it would seem Rahm Emanuel will simply walk into the fifth floor of City Hall and grab a baton from Daley to launch the Emanuel era in Chicago. It's not surprising, considering Emanuel stoked interest during a March interview with Charlie Rose, when he said running Chicago is his most coveted job.
But locally, no one is ready to crown him King of Windy just yet. Chicago political observers question whether he has a base of support here in Chicagoland. Writes Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times:
Emanuel has a million dollars in his campaign fund and formidable fund-raising ability, giving him a running start against rivals -- if he jumps in the contest. Emanuel, a former House member from a district anchored on the North Side, is without a solid political base in Chicago. The unions and other progressives are mad at him over national issues that would seep into a mayoral contest.
Emanuel would have to do a lot of work to get Democratic committeemen to unite around his candidacy -- but he knows a thing or two about coalition building.
Emanuel might look the part, but he doesn't fit the mold of Chicago liberal. The former congressman is more of a centrist bulldog who's been willing to anger the liberal base for more pragmatic legislative achievements.
The chief of staff called a group of liberal congressmen "retards" because they adamantly supported a single-payer health care option. One liberal group was so incensed that they circulated a petition asking Chicago voters to pledge not to vote for the former Northside congressman.
Other groups have said, albiet more quietly, that Emanuel hasn't been good to labor groups and Chicago's immigrant community.
He may be the most visible candidate, but Rahm is no sure bet to take over the mayor's office here in Chicago.