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Posts Tagged ‘White House Chief of Staff

It’s Official and Unanimous – Rahm’s On the Ballot

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7 out of 7 Illinois Supreme Court Justices agree that Rahm Emmanuel is in fact a resident of Chicago.

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled today that Rahm Emanuel can stay on the ballot for mayor of Chicago,  saying in a unanimous decision that he meets the state’s residency requirements despite spending most of the last year as White House chief of staff.

“The voters deserved the right to make the choice of who should be mayor. And what the Supreme Court said basically, in short, that the voters should make the decicions of who will be mayor,” a victorious Emanuel said after slapping backs and shaking hands with commuters at the Clark and Lake elevated train stop near his downtown headquarters.

“The nice part was to be able to tell the news to voters, because a lot of people had not heard it,” Emanuel said.

The court essentially took the position of the Appellate minority, and by that I mean their position is that the Appellate majority are a bunch of political hacks who wouldn’t know established jurisprudence if it jumped up and bit them square on the ass.  Allahpundit at Hot Air points out:

So harsh is it, in fact, that two justices wrote a separate concurrence criticizing the court for being unduly vicious towards the appellate court. (“[T]he tone taken by the majority today is unfortunate…”)

Surprise surprise, one of the two dissenting concurrences came from Ms. “I Think For Myself and Don’t Care That My Husband Rules the Chicago City Council With an Iron Fist” Justice Burke.  Can’t imagine she likes seeing them get this kind of lashing when all they did was what her husband ordered them to.


Rahm Inching Towards Majority, Braun Doesn’t Break $1 mil

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New poll, pretty much same as the last, save for a surge for Chico.  Maybe enough to make him competitive with Braun for 2nd, but probably not.

Rahm Emanuel is closing in on the majority he needs to end the mayor’s race next month and avoid a one-on-one runoff, a new Tribune/WGN poll shows.

The former White House chief of staff had the support of 44 percent of those surveyed. Emanuel enjoys a wide lead among women and white voters and has substantial support among African-American and Latino voters.

Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and onetime Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico are battling for second place in hopes of advancing to an April runoff. But they also must stop Emanuel from getting more than 50 percent and winning outright on Feb. 22.

Braun had 21 percent support and Chico 16 percent, with City Clerk Miguel del Valle at 7 percent and 9 percent undecided. The poll of 708 likely registered voters was conducted Saturday through Wednesday and has an error margin of 3.7 percentage points.

If you don’t watch TV in the Chicago media market, Chico has been up on the air, with an ad so terrible you really have to ask “Why?” Rahm’s ad buys seem to be amping up heading into the election, but considering he’s been in the 40-45% range for a month or so, it sure seems like the impact of his ads has already been priced into the polls.  The wild card would be if Carol Moseley Braun goes up on the air, but that is seeming…unlikely.

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has a huge money advantage over his rivals in the race for Chicago mayor, financial reports filed Thursday show.

Emanuel started January with $8.3 million on hand, whereas former Chicago schools president Gery Chico had $2 million as of Dec. 31, according to reports the campaigns filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections. Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun has about $125,000 on hand, her spokeswoman Renee Ferguson said.

We’re reaching the point where the question is about ground game, turnout rates and voter enthusiasm.  As there hasn’t been a competitive mayoral election in over 2 decades in Chicago, it’s hard to say how that’s going to work out.

Going off of my completely uninformed gut, these are my guesses: Rahm’s going to have a hell of a GOTV operation.  There’s no way an old campaign salt like him overlooks the importance of that.  I’d imagine the same is true, but to a much lesser extent, for Braun.  That said, she doesn’t have a lot of money, so she’s going to depend on having a lot of volunteer support (or maybe help from whoever is paying her 4 mortgages).  The Chico campaign has never been kicking on all cylinders, gotta assume that trend is going to continue.

So if we assume that undecideds are less likely to vote come election day, and instead make up about 6% of the final electorate, that moves Rahm up to 45% just by shrinking the voter pool.  There are about half as many undecided whites as there are blacks, but historically whites vote more than blacks, so let’s say out of the 6% undecideds who end up voting, 3% black, 2% white, 1% hispanic.  I’d say from that we could assume they’d break 3% Rahm, 2% Braun, 1% Chico.  So Rahm’s at 48%.  Ground game could put him over the top.

So 50% on election day is within striking distance, but it’s hard to say how close it is without crosstabs that show enthusiasm.  I have to guess that Braun’s supporters are the most enthusiastic, as they’ve come to her despite the fact she’s done very little to actually attract them (meaning they’re not passive voters).  I guess we’ll see.

New Poll – Rahm 39%, Carol Moseley Braun 12%, Chico 9%

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Bright side – if Danny Davis and James Meeks both get out, all of their supporters go to Carol Moseley Braun, and she then gets all of the undecideds, she’s got a clean 4% on Rahm.  No problem, right?


Just like the last poll, Rahm leads in all racial demographic groupsAfrican-Americans split 31.7% Rahm, 20.4% Braun, 13% Davis, 9% Meeks.  Hispanics split 28.4% Rahm, 22.1% DeValle and 17.4 for Chico.  Whites split 52.1% Rahm, 11.5% Chico.

It seems fairly clear that Rahm’s going to get the most votes in February.  Barring something happening that completely changes things, that should be a walk.  The bigger question is if he crosses 50%.  If he does, game over, he’s the new mayor.  If he doesn’t, then there’s a runoff against whoever comes in 2nd.

Unfortunately the crosstabs they give are incomplete, so there’s not a lot of info to divine who exactly these undecided voters are.  We know they’re disproportionately from the North Central Wards (but more or less evenly distributed), we know they’re disproportionately young, and we know that they don’t like answering questions about their race.

If you don’t like Rahm, it seems like it comes down to Chico and Braun.  With Braun, you have to assume she’ll be able to peel off some African-American support from Rahm.  If he gets knocked down to 20% of the African-American vote, that could definitely make an impact on Rahm’s ability to avoid a runoff.  Where things get tricky for Braun is if Davis or Meeks step aside to avoid splitting the African-American vote.  Although on its face one would assume their votes would head towards Braun, Rahm’s shown an ability to attract African-American support.  Every vote for Davis and Meeks is a vote that doesn’t get Rahm 1 vote closer to 50%.  As it seems unlikely at best that Braun could get 50%, after she gets 1 vote ahead of whoever comes in 3rd all that matters is that other votes don’t go to Rahm.  That is to say that if Davis dropped out Braun could get 99.9% of his support and she still would have been better served by him staying in.

Chico’s situation is a bit more unique.  Other than Rahm, Chico’s got the most cross-racial support.  It’s possible he could leverage his support from white voters to make an electability argument to DeValle supporters, which could put him in striking distance of coming in 2nd in February.  He’s done a good job getting penetration with his platform, which could explain his success with white voters.  The strength of his position is that he seems to be the top alternative to Rahm for white voters, if Rahm stalls at any point, he’s positioned to get some runoff from Chicago’s largest racial demographic.  He also doesn’t share Braun’s problem with Davis and Meeks.  Chico’s got 5 points on anyone else (who isn’t Rahm) amongst whites, so every vote he picks up in that demo is probably a Rahm vote.

What will be interesting to see is what happens when Chico and Braun start balancing taking down Rahm with trying to make sure they wind up #2.  At a certain point they’ll start undercutting each other at every opportunity, which they both have to realize could hand 50% to Rahm.

Former Illinois GOP Chair introduces Meeks at campaign kickoff

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Disclaimer:  This is meant to be frank analysis.  Chicago is the most segregated city in America and the political units are almost entirely racial or ethnic.  I wish it wasn’t this way, but it is.


Yesterday Illinois State Senator James Meeks officially announced that he’s running for mayor of Chicago.

What was more interesting was who introduced him at his announcement, former Chairman of the Illinois GOP Andy McKenna.

Besides counting on support from his 20,000-member Salem Baptist Church, the minister from the Pullman neighborhood announced that ComEd CEO Frank Clark and former state Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna Jr. will lead his mayoral bid’s fundraising efforts.McKenna introduced Meeks at the campaign kick-off event Sunday evening on the campus of the University of Illinois-Chicago.

McKenna’s support for Meeks stems from their shared views on school vouchers. Meeks, whose church has run a private school since 1990, is a rare Democrat who favors the concept of letting students use taxpayer-funded vouchers to pay tuition at private schools.

Meeks is going to have to forge an unconventional coalition if he’s going to be the next mayor of Chicago.  If normal racial politics play out, Rahm is going to be the next mayor.  The racial breakdown in Chicago is roughly 40% black, 40% white and 15% hispanic.  Rahm managed to shoulder out the other white contenders early on, and there’s a huge vacuum in the hispanic community because Luis Gutierrez isn’t running.  Meanwhile, the black community seems to be in danger of being fractured, as today Danny Davis announced he’s running and Carol Moseley Braun isn’t really keeping it a secret she’s going to be in it as well.  If this election is going to be like every previous Chicago election, Meeks, Braun and Davis will slug away at each other for the black vote while Rahm courts hispanic leaders and wins with over 50% no problem.

But, probably more than any other candidate, Meeks has the ability to shift the normal paradigm.  He’s going to get a lot of votes from the black community, there’s no question about that.  Salem Baptist, Meeks’ church, has 20,000 members who love him.  That makes for a nearly obscene campaign apparatus.  He can also speak with more bass in his voice because he’s always had his own power base, so he’s never had to fight over Mike Madigan‘s scraps like the black Democratic establishment has had to so many times.  People are going to be drawn to that.

He also has a unique connection to white conservatives, and this is where things could get interesting.  Chicago is a fiscal disaster.  Just a couple of years ago they sold the parking meters to a private company for the practical equivalent of forever and now there’s only $65 million left.  While blowing through all of that money Chicago still has a $600 million deficit.  Rahm Emmanuel is running as the new Daley, and I think there are a lot of people who, if pressed, will admit that there are no happy ending down the road Chicago’s going.

James Meeks has always made it a point to reach out to white conservatives, while still grandstanding enough to stay credible.  He led a lot of cooperative ministries with Willow Creek Community Church, a mostly white, very rich, nondenominational evangelical church in South Barrington.  He made a lot of friends amongst Illinois Republicans and conservatives when he spearheaded a school vouchers bill for the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago.  And he has now made a clear point that he is going to reach out to white conservatives.

The question is, how many conservative white voters are there in Chicago?  Chicago has very significant Irish and Polish populations that, despite being consistent Democrats, would not be what anyone thinks of when they think of the left-wing.  They’re both very catholic and very old-school communities and would probably be open to finding someone other the pro-abortion and jewish Rahm Emmanuel.  That said, those communities have always loved Daley, and as Rahm seems to be Daley’s choice as an heir, I find it hard to believe that their visceral antisemitism would be so powerful to make his word cease to matter. Still, Meeks is pro-life and anti-gay marriage, which could certainly open some doors into these communities.

Then there are the finance guys.  Although most finance guys moved off to the suburbs a while ago, these guys definitely wish they had a guy they could back for mayor.  If Meeks goes with a somewhat disguised fiscally conservative rationale, he could get a lot of institutional support from the white community that otherwise would probably line up behind Rahm.

Going this route, one or both of Braun and Davis could start to drift out of serious contention, and Rahm would have to spend time that he’d like to use courting the hispanic community trying to keep his white base from disintegrating.  This means Meeks and Emmanuel would have an actual fight on their hands over the hispanic community.  Despite being a small community as compared to the whites and blacks, it is a very politically organized community, especially ever since hipsters started moving into Logan Square and Pilsen.  In other words, get your popcorn ready.