Rahm Emanuel has the money for a mayoral run in Chicago

By T.W. Farnam
Thursday, September 9, 2010; 4:36 PM

If White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel decides to run for mayor of Chicago, he'll be ahead in at least one respect: money. Emanuel has $1.2 million left from his last election to Congress, and he has the national connections needed to bring in much more.

About 75 percent of Emanuel's funding for his last campaign came from outside of Illinois, with more money from New York City than Chicago, where the district he represented is located, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Emanuel will have no trouble using his federal campaign money for the mayoral race. There are no limits on fundraising until Jan. 1, when laws go into effect restricting contributions to $5,000 for an individual and $50,000 for a political action committee.

"Anyone watching the mayor's race, look for big transfers" before the end of the year, said Cindi Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. "With the surprise announcement on Daley, you're going to see a lot more money moving." On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said that he will not run next year for a seventh term.

Emanuel's campaign received an outsize share of support from the finance industry, $1.1 million or about 40 percent of the total that he raised for the 2008 election. Wall Street has dramatically cut support for Democrats this year as the party put new financial regulations into law.

A handful of other industries have been very supportive of Emanuel, according to CRP: Lawyers gave $231,000, workers in the TV and movie industry gave $231,000 and health professionals gave $150,000. Emanuel's two brothers may have had a hand in the former congressman's success: Ari Emanuel is an agent in Hollywood, and Zeke Emanuel is a physician. Rahm Emanuel worked for an investment bank between working in the Clinton White House and serving in Congress.

Emanuel lent his campaign $450,000 in his first election in 2002. His more recent fundraising success enabled him to pay himself back in the beginning of 2009.

Daley, who is retiring, spent $4.5 million on his last campaign. Other potential contenders for the post have already started raising cash for the February primary.

President Obama has said he expects Emanuel to announce his intentions after the November midterms, leaving only 31/2 months before the election.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company