Rahm Emanuel is facing one of the toughest battles in his nearly three-decade career in politics: his bid for a third term as mayor of Chicago, POLITICO reported.
Emanuel has been pilloried for raising taxes and pursuing policies that some say have disadvantaged the city’s poorer residents. He still lives under a cloud of suspicion from much of the city after his office tried to stop the release of footage of the Laquan McDonald killing, which showed an officer shooting the unarmed black teenager 16 times in less than 15 seconds. Emanuel also faces a field of well-regarded challengers who frequently criticize him for not just his policies, but his moral character.
“I would say we’ve not had as many potentially good candidates and well-known candidates as now,” said Chicago campaign strategist Don Rose. “He’s perceived as vulnerable. He is a guy who has never been personally popular.”
The field of contenders challenging Emanuel include well-known Chicago political and business figures. They include the former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, former mayoral candidate and millionaire businessman Willie Wilson and former CEO of Chicago Public Schools Paul Vallas.
There is plenty of anti-Emanuel energy in the city for the candidates to feed off of. Emanuel has endured calls for his resignation since the release of the Laquan McDonald footage in November 2015. Last year, activists protesting his policies effectively halted shopping on the Magnificent Mile on Black Friday.
Emanuel also made a political enemy for life when he fired McCarthy after the video’s release. McCarthy accused Emanuel of throwing him under the bus.
“He’s a bully, and people are afraid of him. I can’t stand by and watch it,” McCarthy told POLITICO. “He would holler and scream and rant and rave. I sat in meetings where I literally saw staff people whose hands were shivering when they were picking up their water. That’s his style. He bullies people.”