A New Mayoral Frontrunner?
Where was Rahm Emanuel at 7:00pm New Year's Eve (CST)around the time that Congressman Danny Davis announced he was dropping out of the race for mayor of Chicago?
Was Emanuel, the mayoral "frontrunner", still vacationing with his family in Thailand where it was eight o'clock in the morning on New Year's Day?
Or had Chicago's would-be first family already returned to its "home" in Washington, D.C. where the time was 8:00pm (EST)?
It really doesn't matter where the former White House Chief of Staff received word about the Davis decision.
For the campaigns of Emanuel, Gery Chico and Miguel Del Valle to become Chicago's next mayor, the moment was a political "game-changer".
The stunning announcement that couldn't wait for New Year's Day (when it would have been given banner headlines in the heavily-read Sunday newspapers) said simply that Chicago's African-American political and business leaders had actually chosen a "consensus" candidate to run for mayor on February 22nd, 2011.
She is former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun.
As recently as two days before Christmas, there were three (3) major black candidates running for Mayor of Chicago. With the trio threatening to divide their natural base of support, there was muffled laughter in the other candidate camps at the political disorganization and disunity in the African-American community.
Then on December 23rd, State Senator James Meeks bowed out in the name of unity. Meeks was joined by the Reverend Jesse Jackson and others in secret negotiations and eight days later, Congressman Davis withdrew adding his endorsement to Braun's campaign.
It leaves Braun as the major African-American candidate running for mayor in a city where black voters routinely make up 40-45% of Chicago's election turnout.
She also is the highest-profile female candidate running for mayor.
Braun's emergence as the "consensus" African-American candidate would seem to virtually assure a first or second place finish on February 22nd. And if she is able to consolidate her base in the black wards, it is not unfathomable that she could reach out to enough voters citywide to win a 50-percent-plus-one victory in the first round.
As for Emanuel, his first order of business in January will be a poll to measure how much of his "frontrunner" status he may have lost during the last eight days of 2010.
And if he finds out he's just another mayoral "wannabe", he'll certainly re-think his campaign tactics.
Will Rahm reconsider participating in those candidate forums he so far has not had time to attend? (To play catchup, he'll have to play)
And if Braun does show progress in consolidating the black vote, will Emanuel play his "ace of spades" meaning President Barack Obama?
The plot thickens.