Chicago mayor’s race: how much to run? (plus: JesseJacksonJr. on the defensive)

Mayor Richard Daley, the current behemoth of a mayor (elected to Chicago seven times) is finally stepping down, leaving an enormous power vacuum. There are many contenders, most of whom I know little about yet. Two of them though we know well already: Rahm Emmanuel and Jesse Jackson Jr.

So there are our smiling contenders.

One of them is a lot richer than the other, and isn’t involved in a scandal of huge proportions.

Jesse Jackson Jr. has been wrapped up in the last year and a half in the Blagojevich  indictment. The FBI released a tape of Blagojevich on the phone with a pal and saying:

Blagojevich: I got some lady callin’ my house for Jesse Jr. here a little while ago.
Greenlee: I’m tellin’ ya, that guy’s shameless.
Blagojevich: Unbelievable, isn’t it? … we were approached, pay to play. That, you know, he’d raise me 500 grand, an emissary came, then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him a senator

Here is the video of the current news on Jesse Jackson Jr.

Here are some of the details of the Blagojevich scandal.

And finally, back to the mayoral campaign in Chicago.

If Rahm Emanuel decides to run, this first means a serious shake-up of the Obama team. Emanuel is one of the core guys at the heart of the administration, and he has tremendous political clout.

He also has an enormous war chest, of 1.2 million dollars. He immediately dwarfs his possible contenders, the most comfortable of whom has only 370,000 dollars. And the shape of the campaign is totally different if you have a major contender like him in the field. A lot of possible candidates wouldn’t even be able to raise that kind of money.

The news compares this situation to the last mayor race, where Daley spent 5 million, saturating the media, while his opponent spent 400,000, a drop in the bucket. Another analogy they’re making is of the recent NYC mayor’s race, where Bloomberg spent a whopping $100 million of his private fortune. Talk about buying your way into politics.

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