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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Carol Moseley Braun vs Rahm Emanuel: Black Voters

Carol Moseley Braun Adds Heavy-Hitters To Campaign

Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun has given her mayoral bid a big but potentially controversial boost -- by signing a pair of seasoned campaign architects with winning track records and close ties to Mayor Daley and House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The surprise hiring of Victor Reyes -- Daley's onetime political enforcer and Hispanic Democratic Organization chieftain -- and Mike Noonan, a former Madigan political aide, could allow Braun to climb into the top tier of mayoral candidates.

But it also could prove a stumbling block in efforts to establish her independence to voters looking for change.

"Many people are looking for someone who can represent the interests of those people who have been denied access in the past," said Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th). "When you bring in an organization that is thought to be tied at the hip with those people who were in power, that leaves a bad taste in the mouth."

Reyes, who was implicated but never indicted in the city hiring scandal, said he signed on with Braun because her polling numbers are better than all of the other black candidates combined and because he firmly believes she has the best chance to build the coalition it will take to win.

Noonan will serve as Braun's campaign manager. The former director of Madigan's legislative campaigns, Noonan helped elect Lisa Madigan attorney general and Todd Stroger County Board president and piloted Ald. Bernie Stone's successful 50th Ward re-election bid in 2007.

Reyes' will be a senior adviser. Noonan and Reyes work together at Roosevelt Media, a media and political consulting firm.

"You can't win for mayor without a coalition," Reyes said. "I've talked to some of the Hispanic candidates. They believe Carol can get into the runoff and that she will be much more progressive on issues important to the Hispanic community. Twenty percent of votes cast will be Hispanic; 42 percent will be African American. If you put those voting blocs together with gays and women, that's a winning coalition."

Sources said a recent poll conducted for black business leaders showed former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel in the mid-20s; Sheriff Tom Dart at roughly 12 percent; Braun at 11 percent and state Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago) at 5 percent.

"Carol is demonstrating that she has the deepest and broadest support among African-American candidates," Noonan said.

African-American aldermen struggling to find a consensus black mayoral candidate were troubled by Braun's move.

"There will be certain people in the community who are very skeptical about her choice of teams because of their close alignment with the [Daley] administration. It certainly will hurt her in some quarters," Lyle said.

Daley's approval rating tumbled to a record low of 35 percent before he announced last month that he would not seek re-election.

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) added, "Carol is a 5th Ward resident, traditionally an independent ward. To go with the old guard standbys is a little disappointing."

Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) said she's willing to give Braun the benefit of the doubt: "She's probably trying to get the best one to run a good campaign for her."

The Hispanic Democratic Organization was at the center of the scandal that culminated in the 2006 conviction of Daley's former patronage chief on charges of rigging city hiring, promotions and overtime to benefit pro-Daley armies of political workers.

Reyes was implicated first as an unidentified "co-schemer" in the alleged conspiracy to reward soldiers in the mayor's political army, then by name in a court filing.

The document described allegations that Reyes continued to exercise substantial influence in personnel decisions, even after he left City Hall in 2000; held meetings in his City Hall office to arrange promotions for politically active employees, and gave marching orders to pro-Daley armies made up of city employees.

He was never indicted and refused to discuss the scandal Thursday.

"I've led a career based on helping to empower the Hispanic community. I've done it for 20 years. I'm going to continue to do it," Reyes said.

Braun's spokeswoman, Renee Ferguson, said the former senator chose Noonan and Reyes because she must build an organization from "ground zero" and is determined to "reach out to all communities."

She's not concerned that the taint of the scandal will tarnish her campaign, Ferguson said.

"When they investigate you and investigate you and bring millions of dollars to bear and you're not indicted, you don't go down -- that means you're cleared," she said.

Emanuel Makes It Official: He's Running For Chicago Mayor

Rahm Emanuel officially announced Saturday what everyone has known since he quit his job as White House chief of staff, hugged President Barack Obama and returned to Chicago: He's in.

To the surprise of no one, Emanuel, who has long talked about his desire to be mayor, told a packed auditorium at a school on Chicago's North Side that he is running to succeed retiring Mayor Richard Daley. The election is Feb. 22.

Emanuel represented the city's North Side in Congress before he went to the White House. He has been actively campaigning in the city since his return about two months ago.

"Only the opportunity to help President Obama as his chief of staff could have pried me away from here," Emanuel said Saturday. "And only the opportunity to lead this city could have pried me away from the president's side."

Since his return, Emanuel also has been courting donors who can add to the $1.2 million left from his congressional campaign fund.

He is one of about a half dozen candidates who have either formally announced or are about to.

State Sen. James Meeks and U.S. Rep. Danny Davis have similar events scheduled Sunday, and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun is expected to announce in the next week or so. Former city schools President Gery Chico and City Clerk Miguel del Valle have already declared they're running.

But Emanuel has emerged as the front-runner, in part because of his money and national profile and because other high-profile candidates, such as Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, have dropped out.

During his announcement speech, Emanuel pledged not to raise taxes and to award city contracts to the lowest bidder.

"Our first responsibility is to make the tough choices that have been avoided too long because of politics and inertia," he said.

Carol Moseley Braun's Campaign Reveals Anti-Rahm 'Strategy': Provoking His Temper

This weekend, Rahm Emanuel, Rep. Danny Davis and Carol Moseley Braun are all set to formally announce their bids for mayor. But, as most Chicagoans know, the campaign season has already begun.

On Thursday, CBS 2 Chicago's Jay Levine spoke to Braun Strategist Mike Noonan--who admitted an interesting campaign move on the air:

"It is standard practice in politics for those who are known to have short tempers, to be pushed because, you know, when a guy like that's buttons are pushed we expect to see a reaction and that kind of reaction is what we believe the people Chicago are not going to like," Noonan said.

Noonan, a former political aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan, also helped McCook Mayor Jeff Tobolski defeat Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica in the Nov. 2 elections. Peraica ended up being arrested toward the end of the campaign, so perhaps Noonan knows a thing or two about inciting aggressive behavior.

But, as Levine said following the interview with Noonan, Chicago has yet to see Emanuel's temper, calling him a "model of reason and restraint."

"So much for a plan to address the challenges the city faces," Emanuel's communications director Ben LaBolt wrote in an email to HuffPost Chicago, in response to the Braun campaign's plan.

Even CBS 2 anchor Walter Jacobson seemed perplexed by Noonan's statement:

"That does not sound like a very smart strategy to me, letting us all know that what Braun plans to do is try to provoke Emanuel into a fit of temper, why tell us all?"

Emanuel has had limited contact with reporters since he returned to Chicago, and barely batted an eye when someone threw an egg at him in the Little Village neighborhood this week.

Carol Moseley Braun Announces Mayoral Exploratory Committee

Former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun announced Monday she is forming an exploratory committee to begin collecting signatures in the race for mayor.

A citizen's group called Carol for Chicago announced plans for a petition drive to push for Moseley Braun for mayor, and she was there to confirm she will form an exploratory committee.

As she greeted her supporters at the press conference, she said she wanted time to meet with potential voters and find out what issues are important to them.

Moseley Braun also touted her work on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and experience running a business, saying she will be well prepared to help the economy of Chicago and foster growth.

She also said, on the issue of violence, it is important to get to youth early and help them find jobs and good role models.

Moseley Braun was the first and only African-American female elected to the Senate, and served one term before she was defeated by Republican Peter Fitzgerald in 2000.

She was a prosecutor in the U.S Attorney's Office and served in the U.S House of Representatives before becoming senator.

Moseley Braun suffered some political setbacks when she was investigated for some missing campaign funds, a friendship with a Nigerian dictator and had an unsuccessful presidential campaign.

After serving in the Senate, Moseley Braun served as the ambassador to New Zealand and has lately been running Ambassador Organics, an organic beverage company, selling pesticide-free coffee, tea and spices.

All candidates for mayor must file 12,500 valid signatures by Nov. 22 to appear on the ballot in February.

African-American Chicago Mayoral Vote Could Be Splintered

A group of African American political activists in Chicago got together to try to find one strong African American candidate to back for mayor. The process--a bit drawn out--did not yield that result.

Chicago Sun-Times report on the coalition deciding to back Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) after announcing a few days before their top two finalists--former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.) and Board of Tax Review's Larry Rogers.

Meanwhile, state Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago), is running for mayor no matter what. Rogers is the least known of the four and its not known if he would have the resources to run on his own.

Moseley Braun is running no matter what.

So instead of one African American candidate, there are at least three. That's now how Harold Washington won election as Chicago's first African American mayor.

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Sources: Chicago Sun Times, Huffington Post, MSNBC, My Fox Chicago, Politics Daily, Youtube, Google Maps

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