RAHM EMANUEL, 4-5 (UP): OK, he’s legally a Chicagoan now, but Emanuel had to fly all the way to Thailand to see his wife and kids -- whom he hadn’t seen since they spent Thanksgiving together in L.A. Emanuel returned with a great tan, which was nice to see after generations of Irish mayors with complexions like a skinned potato. Word is that Emanuel raised $10 million before New Year’s Eve, and he’s got an upcoming fundraiser with Jennifer Hudson and a rally with Bill Clinton. Both should help him win a share of the black vote.
GERY CHICO, 4-1 (DOWN): Chico is still the candidate most likely to defeat Emanuel in a runoff, but he was counting on a split vote in the African-American community, so every time a black candidate drops out, his chances of getting into that runoff go down. Released a thoughtful jobs plan this week, but it was lost among the hullabaloo of Emanuel’s return and Moseley Braun’s taxes. Said to have raised $2.5 million. That may be enough -- you don’t have to be on TV during every show -- but he has yet to air an ad. Getting a boost in the Latino community with the endorsement of ex-mayoral candidate Wilfredo de Jesus.
CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN, 4-1 (UP): The media continue to treat Moseley Braun as a joke, but as the only remaining candidate of the city’s largest ethnic bloc, she has to be taken seriously. Hotly contested aldermanic races on the South and West sides are going to drive up black turnout. That may get Moseley Braun into the runoff. And she’s enough of a politician to have a) won a U.S. Senate race and b) pushed aside James Meeks and Danny Davis. Her initial refusal to release her tax returns, and then the financial hardship the returns revealed, were both embarrassing. But media attacks could make her look like a martyr.
MIGUEL DEL VALLE, 25-1 (NO CHANGE): Del Valle has only raised $150,000. Emanuel has 66 times that much money. “I will be the poorest candidate -- with the most to offer,” del Valle claimed, pointing out that he hasn’t used his political influence to become a millionaire, as Emanuel and Chico. That’s true, but del Valle’s problem is that he doesn’t have enough money to let voters know he’s not controlled by big money. Still on the right side of the issues: this week, he appeared outside a coal-burning power plant on the Southwest Side, demanding it convert to natural gas or shut down.
ED BUS, 900-1 (UP): Bus still doesn’t exist, but now he has one fewer candidate to beat.
THIS WEEK’S SPECIAL: That any member of Rahm Emanuel’s family will ever see the inside of Lake View High School: 125-1.