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Rahm Emanuel is no shoo-in in Chicago


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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.

His national profile alone could propel him into the top tier of a noisy, fractious field. His longstanding connections to the Daley family could give him a boost, even if the outgoing mayor Richard Daley has said he won’t endorse a possible successor.

And 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.

As White House chief of staff for 18 months, and as a congressman here for six years before that, Emanuel has managed to infuriate national leaders of four constituencies critical to winning the keys to City Hall: blacks, Hispanics, unions and liberals. All, in some form, blame him for personally thwarting their top goals, whether on jobs programs, immigration or the health reform bill.

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.”snip
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