CHICAGO – Rahm Emanuel won election as mayor of Chicago three years ago in part because of his strength in the African-American community, but enough black voters have since soured on him that a black labor leader is emerging as a potential rival in the city’s February election.
Emanuel easily won the majority of voters in every African-American ward in 2011 to become mayor of Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city. Since then, a persistently high murder rate, the closing of 50 public schools and a sense that Emanuel is out of touch have hurt his position and invited a bid from Karen Lewis, president of Chicago’s teachers’ union.
Any candidate for mayor other than Emanuel, who served at President Barack Obama’s first chief of staff, would start with a financial disadvantage. The mayor has taken advantage of his popularity with the city’s business community and his national profile to raise more than $8 million in campaign funds.
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