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All signs point to Rahm Emanuel jumping in Chicago mayoral race

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WASHINGTON -- All signs point to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel running for mayor of Chicago.

Emanuel's decision is all but made -- he still has some family matters to consider -- but if his trajectory holds, watch for him to step down from his White House perch sometime in October. It will be a quick transition for Emanuel -- from dealing with an Afghanistan war to street repairs on Ardmore, Archer and Aberdeen.

The window for filing at least 12,500 valid signatures on mayoral nominating petitions opens Nov. 15 and closes Nov. 22. While Emanuel has $1.2 million in his political war chest, he still would need a few weeks to get his organization up and running. People whom I talked to whom Emanuel discussed a mayoral run with are convinced he will run -- with eyes wide open that there will be a lot of competition in a crowded field.

On Tuesday night in Washington -- at the Caucus Room, a restaurant -- Emanuel huddled with Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.), himself mulling his second bid for City Hall, to discuss the Feb. 2 mayoral contest for the job Mayor Daley is vacating.

"We drank water so our minds could be as clear as possible," Davis told me. "We had a conversation about the possibility of both of us running for mayor."

With the potential of a mayoral race being divisive -- reopening racial fault lines in the city -- Davis said they talked about the kind of campaign they each wanted, "not to be designed to fracture the city, not to polarize the city but to have it be as harmonious as it could be."

On Wednesday afternoon, Emanuel met with Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) -- who is also mulling a mayoral bid, but deferring a decision until after Nov. 2 when Quigley is up for election to his first term in Congress. They met for about an hour at the rooftop bar at the W Hotel. Quigley had lemonade. Emanuel had iced tea.

Earlier Emanuel and Quigley -- who won election to Emanuel's House seat after Emanuel stepped down after being tapped by President Obama to be his chief of staff -- in two phone conversations discussed issues facing the city -- such as tax-increment financing.

Bottom line, Quigley told me, "I think he is going to run, that's my opinion."

Gibbs said the White House was ready to fill any possible vacancy.

Said Gibbs, "I got to just say this, that -- there's nobody to replace right now. If there is somebody to replace, we will be ready."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 23, 2010 7:38 AM.

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