Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Why Rahm Emanuel Needs to Bring His A-Game to Chicago

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jesse Jackson Jr. isn't scared of Rahm Emanuel. But other Chicago mayoral candidates should be.

    "No one entering this contest should be under any illusion that if Rahm Emanuel comes to town, he's [not] bringing an A-game,'' Jackson said Thursday outside the Capitol building. "This will not be a B-game. And those who would be mayor need to recognize that. I say this with respect, but not unafraid to be in the ring with him myself. Rahm Emanuel is a heavyweight championship player and it would be a heavyweight fight.''

    The two potential candidates for Chicago Mayor met Wednesday in Washington D.C. to discuss the upcoming race. Neither man is in it for certain, but all signs indicate they'll both try to replace Daley as Chicago's top-dog. Jackson said they discussed the city economic outlook and how to maintain civility in the race.

    Rahm has more than $1.2 million in campaign funds left over from his time as a Chicago congressman, and a kind of political clout that no one in Chicago can match. Jackson's campaign kitty isn't exactly dry either, but he has less of a national brand than Emanuel.

    But Jackson said Emanuel is being thoughtful about his chances, talking to a number of friends and associates and even polling likely voters.

    If he does enter the race, his presence will "nationalize" Chicago's election and entangle it with the Obama agenda, which could hurt Emanuel significantly as Obama's poll numbers have been sagging.