Monday, October 11, 2010


Some have argued that one of the reasons that Rahm Emanuel will be the next mayor of Chicago is because he will have the support of Mayor Daley and Daley’s “patronage army.” While I don’t discount the possibility that Emanuel could win this election with the millions he will have at his disposal, I still don’t think it will happen. And I am quite sure that, if Emanuel does win, it will not be because he has the backing of a Daley “patronage army” for a number of reasons.

First, such a scenario assumes that Daley would back, overtly or covertly, Rahm Emanuel in the upcoming mayoral election. Given that there are several people close to Daley running or considering a run, including Emanuel, Gerry Chico and Tom Dart, Daley’s backing Rahm Emanuel is by no means a foregone conclusion. Second, it assumes Daley still has a “patronage army.” With Al Sanchez, Robert Sorich, and Don Tomczak having been convicted of patronage related abuses and the HDO having been broken up, whatever is left of Daley’s patronage army is looking quite ragged, at least in relative terms. Third, as the years have gone by, more and more, or at least a greater portion, of Daley’s political strength, at least at the street level, comes from the 19th Ward. Does anyone honestly believe that the 19th ward guys are going to abandon native son Tom Dart en masse in favor of Rahm Emanuel? Fourth, does anyone think that even if Emanuel wins the mayoralty (again, a possibility I don’t completely discount; money can buy a lot of votes from a TV addled electorate), he will be in a position, three years into his new office, to pick the next governor? That kind of power doesn’t automatically come with the job; it only appeared that way because two giants named Daley have held the mayor’s for most of most Chicagoans’ lifetimes. (See my 9/28 post, BETTER THAN WHITE CASTLE TASTE TESTER? at

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