Wednesday, February 23, 2011


And whether they're dead or alive.

By Ed Gauthier
Chi Town Stoolie

(CNS) CHICAGO - - Rahm Emanuel blew into the windy city recently, and won yesterday's mayoral election, becoming Chicago's 55th mayor.

"Thank you, Chicago, for this humbling victory," Emanuel said, acting like he was talking to the city as if it were a single person, like Will Ferrel did in the comedy hit "Anchorman." Thankfully he hasn't said, "Stay classy, Chicago"... yet.

"All I can say is, you sure know how to make a guy feel at home," Emanuel added, making a reference to the residency challenge that at one time threatened to derail his candidacy.

Former White House senior adviser David Axelrod, a longtime Emanuel friend, was at the victory celebration, saying, "This is a pretty tremendous win."

This election marked a milestone to many, in that Emanuel is Chi town's first Jewish mayor, and represents the end of the long Daley era in Chicago. The mayoral election season started with a bang on Sept. 7, 2011, when Mayor Richard M. Daley made the surprising announcement that he would not seek a seventh term. Daley said, "The truth is, I have been thinking about this for the past several months. In the end, this is a personal decision, no more, no less."

From his perch in the West Wing, Emanuel, who had been coy publicly about his interest in the mayor's job, immediately started to prepare for a run, staying out of the spotlight until he was ready to quit as chief of staff and return to Chicago. Emanuel departed the White House on Oct. 1 in a lavish East Room ceremony hosted by the president and orchestrated by Emanuel.

It was attended by Cabinet members and top Obama administration staffers. Obama spoke warmly about his chief of staff, and Emanuel made radio and television commercials from the event. While Obama never officially made an endorsement, giving Emanuel permission to make extensive use of the material amounted to a defacto endorsement.

Daley, the city's 54th mayor, first ran for the job in 1983, but lost the Democratic primary to Harold Washington, who went on to become the city's first black mayor. Daley, then the Cook County State's Attorney, tried again and won, taking office on April 24, 1989. Emanuel helped him raise millions of dollars for that campaign. Daley had been reelected ever since, presiding over an increasingly complacent 50-member City Council.

In May, Daley finally steps down as the city's longest-serving mayor, ruling Chicago from his fifth-floor City Hall office even longer than his father Richard J. Daley.