Former Chicago Politician and Radio Host Jim Laski Maintains that Rahm Emanuel will Leverage his D.C. Connections to win Chicago Mayoral Election

Joining the show as a returning guest was Jim Laski, a former Chicago politician and radio personality. Laski spent a total of 28 years in the political arena, partly in Washington, DC, and 16 years as an elected official serving as an alderman and Chicago City Clerk.

Laski opened the show by predicting that Rahm Emanuel will win the election for Mayor of Chicago by leveraging his D.C. connections and tapping into an election war-chest that has already amassed $11.8 million.

“Who can compete with that kind of money?  He’s getting money from his local connections but also from the Hollywood crowd, thanks to his agent brother’s connections.  I mean Steven Spielberg has donated $75,000,”said Laski.

Laski noted that Emanuel has about 44 percent of the vote according to recent polling. He doesn’t think Emanuel’s competition will give him much of a run. Carol Moseley Braun is moored in questions about her finances; Gery Chico has good qualifications but there are questions about his cozy relationship with the Daley administration; Miguel del Valle is a long shot, as are two other candidates. Gery Chico could challenge Emanuel only if Emanuel fails to get 50 percent of the vote, causing a runoff.

Laski maintains that the Daley name has such long connections in Chicago and that with the election of Emanuel and his Daley history, the Daley name will continue to hold sway.  “Rahm will be mayor for as long as he wants because he knows how to raise dough and consolidate power. He’s a knucklehead, but he’s our knucklehead,” said Laski.

The only way to keep Emanuel from retaining his mayoral seat against competitors is through campaign contribution reform, to allow candidates to spend at equitable levels.   In addition, the tradition of gerrymandering wards solidifies voter support.

Laski also suggested that there are no younger candidates that can seriously challenge Emanuel if he is elected. He also reminded listeners that there are no term limits, so as long as the Chicago mayor continues to win reelection, he can stay in power.
“Don’t be surprised to see some candidates running against Emanuel getting positions in his administration to stave off any future competition,” predicted Laski.

From a national perspective, with Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, and even former press secretary Robert Gibbs returning to Chicago to help manage President Obama’s reelection, Laski sees a “Chicago centric” character to the 2012 election.

“Let’s face it, Obama needs the Midwest if he wants to win reelection, so it’s no accident that right after his State of the Union Address he headed to Wisconsin to address local businesses,” said Laski.

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