White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Monday he would like to run for Chicago mayor if Richard M. Daley doesn't seek reelection. How would his Washington credentials and caustic style mesh with Chicago's political machine?
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
“That’s always been an aspiration of mine, even when I was in the House of Representatives,” he said according to a transcript.
Although the informal announcement was downplayed Tuesday by a White House spokesperson, it is already turning heads in Chicago, where political strategists say Mr. Emanuel’s bulldog style and Washington credentials might not sit well with the city’s deep-seated Democratic political machine.
A typical Chicago political career – especially one that leads to the mayor’s office – starts from putting in long hours in neighborhood ward organizations and working your way to city hall, a path Emanuel largely bypassed.
Before he became the chief of staff under President Obama, Emanuel’s single connection to Chicago’s tight-knit political infrastructure was as chief fundraiser for Mayor Daley’s first election campaign in 1989. He lives part-time on Chicago’s North Side but grew up in the city’s affluent North Shore suburbs, a pedigree which DePaul University political science professor Larry Bennett says makes him “rather different from your classic candidate” running for a Chicago office.