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Mayor Rahm? Not so fast

Turns out you don't just waltz into Chicago's city hall. First there's the little matter of getting elected.

The national media started hyperventilating over the implications of Rahm Emanuel leaving the White House to try to succeed Mayor-for-Life Richard Daley. When will he declare? Who will replace him?

After all, a bunch of aldermen that nobody has heard of outside the Windy City aren't going to roll Rahmbo, right?

Well, all politics is local. And the former congressman may be a big Beltway player who just got a virtual endorsement from a POTUS who has a house in Chicago, but still: Working the wards and dealing with the racial pressures is no easy task.
Maybe--just maybe--Rahm takes a hard-eyed look at the situation and doesn't run? As we all know, the guy doesn't like to blanking lose.

As the Chicago Sun-Times reports: "A 'Stop Rahm' movement is building. Black and Hispanic caucuses are meeting to pick candidates. And the City Council's most powerful aldermen is vowing to serve only one term as mayor, if he chooses to make the race at all."
At Politics Daily, Lynn Sweet says he's no front-runner:
"While Emanuel would be in the top tier of contestants, he by no means starts off at the front of the line. Chicago's progressive community -- the 'professional left'-- started organizing against Emanuel when news of his interest in replacing Daley surfaced earlier in the year. They fault Emanuel for not pushing for a public option in health care.
"The big unions -- and Chicago is a union city -- are cool to an Emanuel bid, disappointed that the Obama White House never made immigration a priority or pushed harder for a law to make it easier to organize in the workplace. Emanuel has no solid political base compared to other potential rivals."
The New Republic's Noam Scheiber says an Emanuel candidacy isn't a done deal:
"Most observers believe Rahm will have Daley's blessing if he runs. (Or put it this way: It's hard to believe Rahm would run without Daley's backing.) I assume that means a lot in terms of organizational strength city-wide.
"The real problem with the unexpectedness has less to do with Chicago than with Washington. Had Rahm known a few months ago that Daley was retiring, he could have gradually laid the groundwork for a smooth departure. It's much harder to do that in the narrow window between now and the midterm elections. No matter how strong the rest of the White House team--and there are some hugely talented people there--you don't just replace the chief of staff without breaking stride. It takes weeks if not months to plan and execute these transitions seamlessly...
"The thing you have to understand about Rahm is that he's a bit of a control freak. The last thing he wants is to be held responsible for something (the Democratic showing in November) that he can't influence, which will happen if he leaves prematurely."
And Politico offers this assessment from Chicago:
"Rahm Emanuel's a pretty powerful guy in Washington, but not as much here in his hometown, where he'd start a mayoral bid as just one of many credible candidates for the job -- one whose obvious strengths as a national Democratic rainmaker are tempered by an uncommon knack for alienating allies...
"Emanuel possesses unusual strengths as a mayoral candidate: He's run an administration much larger than Chicago's, has $1.2 million in the bank and a formidable national donor list, commands media coverage and would put together an all-star campaign team. But he's hardly a shoo-in. ...
"He'll have to navigate the city's complex ethnic and racial politics, with black and Hispanic political leaders already trying to coalesce around candidates. And in a city with no shortage of homegrown Democratic pols, he'll battle the inevitable charges of 'carpetbagger.'"
Hey, he'll probably be called a lot worse before this is over.

By Howard Kurtz  |  September 9, 2010; 3:40 PM ET
Categories:  Latest stories , Top story  | Tags: Chicago, Emanuel, Rahm, mayor, politics  
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Comments

Here in Chicago Rahm Emanuel isn't anything of the local news phenomenon as the national news are presumably holding true too. The local media is discussing the Daily legacy and the scope of all the potential candidates, not nearly only Rahm Emanuel. It is only in national news media that is the national spotlight on the national candidate, Emanuel.

Posted by: KingDavidRetired | September 9, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

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