Rahm Israel Emanuel (/rɑːm/; born November 29, 1959) is an American politician serving as the 55th mayor of Chicago since 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the 23rd White House Chief of Staff from 2009 to 2010, and as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Chicago between 2003 and 2009.
Born in Chicago, Emanuel is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and Northwestern University. Working early in his career in Democratic politics, Emanuel was appointed as director of the finance committee for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. In 1993, he joined the Clinton Administration, where he served as the assistant to the president for political affairs and as the Senior Advisor to the President for policy and strategy before resigning, in 1998. Beginning a career in finance, Emanuel worked at the investment bank Wasserstein Perella & Co. from 1998 for 2½ years, and served on the board of directors of Freddie Mac.
In 2002, Emanuel ran for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives vacated by Rod Blagojevich, who resigned to become governor of Illinois. Emanuel won the first of three terms representing Illinois's 5th congressional district, a seat he held from 2003 to 2009. During his tenure in the House, Emanuel held two Democratic leadership positions, serving as the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 2005 to 2007, and as the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, from 2007 to 2009. After the 2008 presidential election, President Barack Obama appointed Emanuel to serve as White House chief of staff.
In October 2010, Emanuel resigned as chief of staff to run as a candidate in Chicago's 2011 mayoral election. Because of questions about his eligibility to run for mayor, Emanuel's candidacy was initially rejected by the Illinois First District Appellate Court, though he was later found eligible to run in a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court of Illinois. Emanuel won with 55% of the vote over five other candidates in the non-partisan mayoral election, succeeding 22-year incumbent Richard M. Daley. Although Emanuel failed to obtain an absolute majority in the February 2015 mayoral election, he defeated Cook County board commissioner Jesús "Chuy" García in the subsequent run-off election in April.
In late 2015, Emanuel's approval rating plunged to "the low 20s" in response to a series of scandals, most directly the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, the city's subsequent attempts to withhold a video of the shooting, and the lack of an investigation into the matter. In early December 2015, the federal Justice Department announced an investigation into the operations of the Chicago Police Department, a move which Emanuel initially opposed. At one point, half of Chicagoans favored Emanuel's resignation, with highly critical evaluations of the mayor appearing in such sources as The New York Times and The New Yorker, and coming from such figures as the Reverend Al Sharpton.
By July 2017, Emanuel was said to have raised $1.6 million towards a potential run for a third term in the 2019 election, and although his approval ratings had not recovered to 50%, he had made steady progress in recovering his political support. He initially announced in October 2017 he planned to run for a third term, but on September 4, 2018, Emanuel reversed this decision and stated he would not seek a third term due to personal obligations.
|55th Mayor of Chicago|
|Assumed office |
May 16, 2011
|Preceded by||Richard M. Daley|
|Succeeded by||Lori Lightfoot (elect)|
|23rd White House Chief of Staff|
January 20, 2009 – October 1, 2010
|Preceded by||Joshua Bolten|
|Succeeded by||Pete Rouse (Acting)|
|Chair of the House Democratic Caucus|
January 3, 2007 – January 2, 2009
|Deputy||John B. Larson|
|Preceded by||Jim Clyburn|
|Succeeded by||John B. Larson|
|Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee|
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Bob Matsui|
|Succeeded by||Chris Van Hollen|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Illinois's 5th district
January 3, 2003 – January 2, 2009
|Preceded by||Rod Blagojevich|
|Succeeded by||Mike Quigley|
|Senior Advisor to the President|
January 20, 1993 – November 7, 1998
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Doug Sosnik|
Rahm Israel Emanuel
November 29, 1959
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Amy Merritt Rule (m. 1994)
|Education||Sarah Lawrence College (BA)|
Northwestern University (MA)
Emanuel's grandfather was a Moldovan Jew who emigrated from Bessarabia. The surname Emanuel (Hebrew: עמנואל), which means "God with us", was adopted by their family in honor of his father's brother Emanuel Auerbach, who was killed in 1933 in an altercation with Arabs in Jerusalem.
Emanuel's father, Benjamin M. Emanuel, is a Jerusalem-born pediatrician at Michael Reese Hospital who was once a member of the Irgun, a Jewish paramilitary organization that operated in British Mandate Palestine. His mother, Marsha (née Smulevitz), is the daughter of a West Side Chicago union organizer who worked in the civil rights movement, and briefly owned a local rock and roll club, and later became an adherent of Benjamin Spock's writings. Emanuel's parents met during the 1950s in Chicago.
Emanuel was born on November 29, 1959, in Chicago, Illinois. His first name, Rahm (רם) means high or lofty in Hebrew. He has been described by his older brother Ezekiel, an oncologist and bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, as "quiet and observant" as a child. Ari, the youngest, is the co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor, a talent agency with headquarters in Beverly Hills, California; he also has a younger adopted sister, Shoshana.
While he lived in Chicago, Emanuel attended the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School. After his family moved to Wilmette, north of the city, Emanuel attended public schools: Romona School, Locust Junior High School, and New Trier High School. He and his brothers attended summer camp in Israel, including the summer following the June 1967 Six-Day War. Ezekiel has written that their father "did not believe in falsely building his sons' self-esteem by purposefully letting us win, or tolerating sloppy play". About Rahm, he also wrote:
Though fiercely intelligent ... he was not naturally inclined to sit at a desk and put in extra effort to turn a B into an A. As my father often said, without noting that the phrase applied to himself at that same age, "Rahm always tries to get the maximum for the minimum."
Rahm was encouraged by his mother to take ballet lessons, and is a graduate of the Evanston School of Ballet, as well as a student of The Joel Hall Dance Center, where his children later took lessons. He won a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet, but turned it down to attend Sarah Lawrence College, a liberal arts school with a strong dance program. This background, as well as the mayor's short stature, has led critics of the Mayor to nickname him "tiny dancer". While an undergraduate, Emanuel was elected to the Sarah Lawrence Student Senate. He graduated from Sarah Lawrence in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts, and went on to receive a Master of Arts in Speech and Communication from Northwestern University in 1985.
Emanuel took part in a two-week civilian volunteer holiday, known as the Sar-El, where, as a civilian volunteer, he assisted the Israel Defense Forces during the 1991 Gulf War, helping to repair truck brakes in one of Israel's northern bases.
While a high school student working part-time at an Arby's restaurant, Emanuel severely cut his right middle finger on a meat slicer, which was later infected from swimming in Lake Michigan. His finger was partially amputated due to the severity of the infection.
Emanuel began his political career with the public interest and consumer rights organization Illinois Public Action. He went on to serve in a number of capacities in local and national politics, initially specializing in fund-raising for Illinois campaigns, and then nationally.
Emanuel worked for Democrat Paul Simon's 1984 election to the U.S. Senate. He also worked as the national campaign director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 1988, and was senior advisor and chief fund-raiser for Richard M. Daley's successful initial campaign for mayor of Chicago, in 1989 .
At the start of then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton's presidential primary campaign, Emanuel was appointed to direct the campaign's finance committee. Emanuel insisted that Clinton schedule time for fund-raising and delay campaigning in New Hampshire. Clinton embarked on an aggressive national fund-raising campaign that allowed the campaign to keep buying television time as attacks on Clinton's character threatened to swamp the campaign during the New Hampshire primary. Clinton's primary rival, Paul Tsongas (the New Hampshire Democratic primary winner), later withdrew, citing a lack of campaign funds. Richard Mintz, a Washington public relations consultant who worked with Emanuel on the campaign, spoke about the soundness of the idea: "It was that [extra] million dollars that really allowed the campaign to withstand the storm we had to ride out in New Hampshire [over Clinton's relationship with Gennifer Flowers and the controversy over his draft status during the Vietnam War]." Emanuel's knowledge of the top donors in the country, and his rapport with "heavily Jewish" donors helped Clinton amass a then-unheard-of sum of $72 million. While working on the Clinton campaign Emanuel was a paid retainer of the investment bank Goldman Sachs.
Following the campaign, Emanuel became a senior advisor to Clinton at the White House from 1993 to 1998. In the White House, Emanuel was initially Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and then Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy. He was a leading strategist in White House efforts to institute NAFTA and universal health care, among other Clinton initiatives.
Emanuel is known for his "take-no-prisoners style" that has earned him the nickname "Rahmbo". Emanuel sent a dead fish in a box to a pollster who was late delivering polling results. On the night after the 1992 election, angry at Democrats and Republicans who "betrayed" them in the 1992 election, Emanuel stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign and began plunging a steak knife into the table and began rattling off names while shouting "Dead! Dead! Dead!". Before Tony Blair gave a pro-Clinton speech during the impeachment crisis, Emanuel reportedly screamed at Blair "Don't fuck this up!" while Clinton was present. Blair and Clinton both burst into laughter. However, by 2007 friends of Emanuel were saying that he has "mellowed out". Stories of his personal style have entered the popular culture, inspiring articles and websites that chronicle these and other quotes and incidents. The character Josh Lyman in The West Wing was said to be based on Emanuel, though executive producer Lawrence O'Donnell denied this.
After serving as an advisor to Bill Clinton, in 1998 Emanuel resigned from his position in the Clinton administration and joined the investment banking firm Wasserstein Perella, where he worked for 2 1/2 years. Although he did not have an MBA degree or prior banking experience, he became a managing director at the firm's Chicago office in 1999, and according to Congressional disclosures, made $16.2 million in his 2 1⁄2 years as a banker. At Wasserstein Perella, he worked on eight deals, including the acquisition by Commonwealth Edison of Peco Energy and the purchase by GTCR Golder Rauner of the SecurityLink home security unit from SBC Communications.
Emanuel was named to the Board of Directors of Freddie Mac by President Clinton in 2000. He earned at least $320,000 during his time there, including later stock sales. During Emanuel's time on the board, Freddie Mac was plagued with scandals involving campaign contributions and accounting irregularities. The Bush Administration rejected a request under the Freedom of Information Act to review Freddie Mac board minutes and correspondence during Emanuel's time as a director. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight later accused the board of having "failed in its duty to follow up on matters brought to its attention". Emanuel resigned from the board in 2001 before his first bid for Congress.
In 2002, Emanuel pursued the U.S. House seat in the 5th district of Illinois, previously held by Rod Blagojevich, who successfully ran for governor of Illinois. His strongest opponent in the crowded primary of eight was former Illinois state representative Nancy Kaszak. During the primary, Edward Moskal, president of the Polish American Congress, a political action committee endorsing Kaszak, called Emanuel a "millionaire carpetbagger". Emanuel won the primary and defeated Republican candidate Mark Augusti in the general election. Emanuel's inaugural election to the House was the closest he ever had, as he won more than 70% of the vote in all of his re-election bids.
Emanuel was elected after the October 2002 joint Congressional resolution authorizing the Iraq War, and so did not vote on it. However, in the lead up to the resolution, Emanuel spoke out in support of the war.
In January 2003, Emanuel was named to the House Financial Services Committee and sat on the subcommittee that oversaw Freddie Mac. A few months later, Freddie Mac Chief Executive Officer Leland Brendsel was forced out and the committee and subcommittee commenced more than a year of hearings into Freddie Mac. Emanuel skipped every hearing allegedly for reasons of avoiding any appearance of favoritism, impropriety, or conflict of interest.
Emanuel assumed the position of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman (DCCC) after the death of the previous chair, Bob Matsui. Emanuel led the Democratic Party's effort to capture the majority in the House of Representatives in the 2006 elections. The documentary HouseQuake, featuring Emanuel, chronicles those elections. Emanuel had disagreements over Democratic election strategy with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. Dean favored a "fifty-state strategy", building support for the Democratic Party over the long term, while Emanuel advocated a more tactical approach focusing attention on key districts.
The Democratic Party gained 30 seats in the House in the 2006 elections, and Emanuel received considerable praise for his stewardship of the DCCC, even from Illinois Republican Rep. Ray LaHood, who said, "He legitimately can be called the golden boy of the Democratic Party today. He recruited the right candidates, found the money, and funded them, and provided issues for them. Rahm did what no one else could do in seven cycles."
However, Emanuel also faced some criticism for his failure to support some progressive candidates, as Howard Dean advocated. Emanuel had "aggressively recruited right-leaning candidates, frequently military veterans, including former Republicans". Many of the Representatives that Rahm had recruited, such as Heath Shuler, ending up "[voted] against important Obama Administration priorities, like economic stimulus, banking reform, and health care". Howie Klein has suggested that Emanuel's congressional campaign strategy was short-sighted, as it "contributed to the massive G.O.P. majorities we have now, the biggest since the nineteen-twenties" when the Democrats lost control of the House in the 2010 mid-term elections.
After Emanuel's election as chairman of the Democratic Caucus (see below), Chris Van Hollen became committee chair for the 110th Congress.
After his role in helping the Democrats win the 2006 elections, Emanuel was believed to be a leading candidate for the position of Majority Whip. Nancy Pelosi, who became the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, persuaded him not to challenge Jim Clyburn, but instead to succeed Clyburn in the role of Democratic Caucus Chairman. In return, Pelosi agreed to assign the caucus chair more responsibilities, including "aspects of strategy and messaging, incumbent retention, policy development, and rapid-response communications". Caucus vice-chair John Larson remained in his role instead of running for the chairman position.
After Vice President Dick Cheney asserted that he did not fall within the bounds of orders set for the executive branch, Emanuel called for cutting off the $4.8 million the Executive Branch provides for the Vice President's office.
Emanuel is generally liberal on social issues. He has maintained a 100-percent pro-choice voting record, supports LGBT rights including same-sex marriage, and is a strong supporter of gun control, rated "F" by the NRA in December 2003. He has also strongly supported the banning of numerous rifles based upon "sporting purposes" criteria.
During his original 2002 campaign, Emanuel spoke in support of the goal of "to help make health care affordable and available for all Americans".
In his 2006 book, co-authored with Bruce Reed, The Plan: Big Ideas for America, Emanuel advocated a three-month compulsory universal service program for Americans between the ages of 18 and 25. An expanded version was later proposed by Barack Obama during his 2008 campaign.
During his original 2002 campaign, Emanuel "indicated his support of President Bush's position on Iraq, but said he believed the President needed to better articulate his position to the American people".
In the 2006 congressional primaries, Emanuel, then head of the Democratic congressional campaign committee, helped organize a run by Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran with no political experience, against grassroots candidate Christine Cegelis in Illinois' 6th district. Expedited withdrawal from Iraq was a central point of Cegelis' campaign and Duckworth opposed a withdrawal timetable.
In June 2007, Emanuel condemned an outbreak of Palestinian violence in the Gaza Strip and criticized Arab countries for not applying the same kind of pressure on the Palestinians as they have on Israel. At a 2003 pro-Israel rally in Chicago, Emanuel told the marchers that Israel was "ready for peace" but would not get there until Palestinians "turn away from the path of terror".
Emanuel declared in April 2006 that he would support Hillary Clinton should she pursue the presidency in 2008. Emanuel remained close to Clinton since leaving the White House, talking strategy with her at least once a month as chairman of the DCCC. However, Emanuel's loyalties came into conflict when his home-state Senator, Barack Obama, expressed interest in the race. Asked in January 2007, about his stance on the Democratic presidential nomination, he said: "I'm hiding under the desk. I'm very far under the desk, and I'm bringing my paper and my phone." Emanuel remained neutral in the race until June 4, 2008, the day after the final primary contests, when he endorsed Obama.
On November 6, 2008, Emanuel accepted the position of White House Chief of Staff for US President Barack Obama. He resigned his congressional seat effective January 2, 2009. A special primary to fill his vacated congressional seat was held on March 3, 2009, and the special general election on April 7. John Fritchey, a candidate for that seat, said at a forum that Emanuel had told him he may be interested in running for the seat again in the future.
Some Republican leaders criticized Emanuel's appointment because they believed it went against Obama's campaign promises of less divisive politics, given Emanuel's reputation as a partisan Democrat. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham disagreed, saying: "This is a wise choice by President-elect Obama. He's tough, but fair, honest, direct, and candid." Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, said that the choice indicated that Obama would not listen to the "wrong people" regarding the U.S.–Israel relationship. Some commentators opined that Emanuel would be good for the Israeli–Palestinian peace process because if Israeli leaders made excuses for not dismantling settlements, Emanuel would be tough and pressure the Israelis to comply. Some Palestinians expressed dismay at Emanuel's appointment.
Weeks after accepting the appointment, Emanuel participated on a panel of corporate chief executive officers sponsored by the Wall Street Journal, and said, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." The quote was taken out of context by some commentators as evidence "... that the left supposedly wants to exploit circumstances to ram its agenda through". Emanuel explained later, "... what I said was, never allow a good crisis to go to waste when it's an opportunity to do things that you had never considered, or that you didn't think were possible."
He has a reputation for his no-holds-barred negotiation style that involves "his share of shouting and cursing". Ezekiel Emanuel has written, "The impatient, pushy Emanuel style is so well known that during a recent job interview I was asked, point-blank, whether I had the level-headed temperament the position required. ... . [A]s obvious to our flaws are to others, it's difficult to recognize them in ourselves." At a January 2010 closed-door meeting in the White House with liberal activists, Emanuel called them "fucking retarded" for planning to run TV ads attacking conservative Democrats who didn't support Obama's health-care overhaul. After the remarks were quoted in a front-page story of the Wall Street Journal, and after he was criticized by Sarah Palin, Emanuel apologized to organizations for the mentally handicapped for using the word "retarded".
According to Jonathan Alter's book, The Promise, Emanuel opposed Barack Obama's plan for a broad health care reform, but Obama overrode him. Emanuel advocated a smaller plan because it could get bi-partisan support. Emanuel wanted to expand coverage for children, and increase the number of single mothers eligible for Medicaid. For that reason, it was called "the Titanic plan". Reportedly, House Speaker Pelosi had to convince Obama on the health care initiative after Emanuel dramatically scaled it back. Emanuel has since apologized for his role, saying, "Thank God for the country, he didn't listen to me", after the Supreme Court upheld "ObamaCare" in 2012.
As chief of staff, Emanuel would make his staff laugh. During a staff meeting, when Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra gave uniformly upbeat reports, Emanuel is said to have looked at him and said: "Whatever you're taking, I want some." Emanuel had a hand in war strategy, political maneuvering, communications and economic policy. Bob Woodward wrote in Obama's Wars that Emanuel made a habit of telephoning CIA Director Leon Panetta and asking about the lethal drone strikes aimed at Al Qaeda, asking, "Who did we get today?".
In 2010, Emanuel was reported to have conflicts with other senior members of the president's team and ideological clashes over policy. He was also the focal point of criticism from left-leaning Democrats for the administration's perceived move to the center. By September 2010, with the Democrats anticipating heavy losses in mid-term elections, this was said to precipitate Emanuel's departure as chief of staff.
Emanuel's eligibility for office was challenged on the basis of his lack of residency in Chicago for one year prior to the election. The Board of Elections and the Cook County Circuit Court affirmed his eligibility. A divided Court of Appeals reversed the Circuit Court, holding on January 24, 2011, that residency for purposes of a candidate is different from residency for purposes of being a voter. A further appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court resulted in a unanimous decision reversing the Court of Appeals and affirming Emanuel's eligibility.
Emanuel's mayoral campaign was the inspiration for a satirical Twitter account called MayorEmanuel, which received more than 43,000 followers, more popular than Emanuel's actual Twitter account. Emanuel announced on February 28 that if the author would reveal himself, he would donate $5,000 to the charity of the author's choice. When Chicago journalist Dan Sinker revealed himself, Emanuel donated the money to Young Chicago Authors, a community organization which helps young people with writing and publishing skills.
Emanuel was elected on February 22, 2011, with 55% of the vote, and was sworn in as the 55th Mayor of Chicago on May 16, 2011, at the Pritzker Pavilion. At his inauguration were outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley, Vice President Joe Biden, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, former Mayor Jane Byrne, and William M. Daley, brother of the outgoing mayor and who would later serve as White House Chief of Staff. Emanuel is Chicago's first Jewish mayor.
In 2015, Emanuel won 56 percent of the vote in the run-off election against Jesús "Chuy" García held on April 7, 2015. He had been hurt by sharp neighborhood criticism of his decision to shut down 50 public schools in black and Latino neighborhoods, and his installation of red light cameras, together with anger at the high level of gun violence on the streets. On the other hand, he was supported by the business community and most elements of the Democratic party.
Emanuel announced in October 2017 that he was running for reelection in 2019, despite low approval ratings and some potentially serious challengers. In September 2018, Emanuel then announced he would not run for reelection as previously announced. Close friend David Axelrod told USA Today that Emanuel had grown uncertain about his devotion to a third term. Emanuel had been leading in the polls prior to his decision to withdraw. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel stated that he had been conferring with his wife and children for months before announcing the decision and that he felt it was time to " write the next chapter."
Emanuel assembled a transition team from varied backgrounds. On November 16, the city council voted unanimously to adopt the mayor's first budget, which decreased the budget by $34 million and increased spending by $46.2 million, supported by increasing fees and fines. Despite most Aldermen opposing cuts to library workers and the closure of mental health clinics, they ultimately supported it, calling it "honest". At a news conference in November 2012, Emanuel listed his top three priorities for the state legislature as security and pension reform, adding a casino to Chicago, and equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. At a press conference with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who previously vetoed legislation to put a casino in Chicago, the two were "very close" to reaching a deal.
In April 2018, Emanuel received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from NUI Galway, a university in Chicago's sister city of Galway, Ireland, with the conferrers citing achievements in education reform while Mayor.
In August 2012, a federal lawsuit was filed by eleven Chicago police officers alleging they were removed from the mayoral security detail and replaced with officers who worked on Emanuel's mayoral campaign, in violation of the 1983 Shakman Decree, which bars city officials from making political considerations in the hiring process.
Rahm Emanuel faced a great deal of criticism for his handling of the October 20, 2014, police shooting of Laquan McDonald. The dash-cam video of the shooting was initially withheld, and only was released after a judge ordered it on November 24, 2015. After the video release, Emanuel was condemned for covering up the incident and allowing Chicago police to use excessive force against minorities. Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass wrote that the Emanuel administration withheld from the public the police dashboard camera video of the shooting in order to secure the reelection. Emanuel responded to criticism of the shooting and how it was handled by firing police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. In early December, the federal Justice Department announced an investigation into the Chicago Police Department, a move which Emanuel initially called "misguided". Illinois state legislator La Shawn Ford also introduced a bill to recall the mayor (an effort most pundits claim is more symbolic than practical).
Protests erupted soon after the release of the video, and on Black Friday protesters shut down part of the city's Magnificent Mile. Public calls for resignation grew steadily over this period, including a well-circulated op-ed published in The New York Times. By early December, Emanuel's approval rating had sunk to 18%, with 67% of Chicagoans disapproving of his job performance, and slightly more than half of those polled calling for his resignation. During the week of December 10, protestors blocked streets and continued to call for Emanuel to resign. Additional protests against Emanuel and Chicago's Police Department were held on the city's busy Michigan Avenue shopping area on December 24, 2015.
On December 26, 2015, a police officer killed two people in another shooting, including a woman whom the officer had shot by mistake. On December 28, Emanuel announced that he was cutting short his vacation in Cuba to deal with the crisis. Emanuel announced several changes to the Chicago police department on December 30, including doubling the number of Tasers issued to officers. On New Year's Eve, the Emanuel administration released e-mails revealing they had sought to coordinate with independent agencies such as the Independent Police Review Authority regarding public relations after the shooting. The same day The New Yorker added to the wave of negative media attention surrounding the mayor by publishing "The Sudden But Well-Deserved Fall of Rahm Emanuel", an article critically reevaluating Emanuel's legacy as a political operative since the early 1990s.
In 2012, during the contract negotiations between the city and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), compromise could not be reached over issues like health insurance increases, teacher evaluations, and seniority pay increases. On August 8, 2012, the CTU voted 90% to authorize a strike. On September 10, the CTU began a strike after CTU President Lewis declared that negotiations with the city were not succeeding. On September 14, the CTU reached a tentative agreement with the city which included preferences for teachers who have been laid off due to a school closing to be hired in another school and student test scores having less of a role in teacher evaluations than the city had originally planned. This tentative agreement did not hold, and the strike continued, after which Emanuel announced his intention to seek a legal injunction, forcing teachers back to work. On September 17, Emanuel's efforts to end the strike stalled as the walkout went into the second week. Delegates from the CTU voted to end the strike on September 18, 2012, and students began their return to the schools the following day.
On September 17, 2013, Emanuel's appointed Chicago Board of Education announced the closing of 50 Chicago public schools, 49 elementary schools and a high school — the largest school closure in Chicago history.
On August 16, 2011, Emanuel unveiled "Healthy Chicago", the city's first-ever public health blueprint with the Chicago Department of Public Health's Commissioner Bechara Choucair. Emanuel initiated the consolidation of City Council committees from 19 to 16 in a cost control effort. On October 30, 2012, Emanuel voiced his support for the demolition of the abandoned Prentice Women's Hospital Building, in order for Northwestern University, which owns the property, to build a new facility. Preservationists supported historical landmark status. Days later, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted that the building met landmark status criteria then reversed their decision later in the same meeting. On November 15, a judge granted a temporary stay of the decision in order for a lawsuit filed by preservation coalitions against the landmark commission to be heard.
Emanuel rejected requests under Illinois' Freedom of Information Act from The Chicago Tribune for various communication and information logs for himself and his staff, labelling it "unduly burdensome". After a second request by the Tribune, they were informed that 90 percent of the e-mails had been deleted by Emanuel and his top aides. As a result, Emanuel came under fire for going against his campaign promise to create "the most open, accountable, and transparent government that the City of Chicago has ever seen".
Lollapalooza, an annual summer music festival in Grant Park, was exempt from taxation. Emanuel's brother Ari is the co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor, which co-owns the event. In 2011 Rahm Emanuel asked the City Council to appoint an independent third party negotiator, to avoid having the negotiation seen as biased. Although the deal was reached before Emanuel took office, tax breaks must be negotiated every year. It was later revealed that the festival received its tax exemption for 2011 in the final days of the Daley administration. In 2012, Lollapalooza paid taxes for the first time in seven years and extended its contract to host in Grant Park through 2021.
Rahm Emanuel announced preliminary plans to award Elon Musk a contract to build a Hyperloop between downtown Chicago and the city’s O’Hare airport, although it would receive no public subsidies under this plan. However, some criticized the fact that Elon Musk has in the past donated more than $55,000 to Rahm Emanuel’s various election campaigns, suggesting a potential conflict of interest between the two.
Emanuel has planned to arrange for a smooth transition between his mayoral administration and that of his elected successor Lori Lightfoot. Reports are that he intends to model the transition between their administrations upon the U.S. presidential transition between the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Emanuel had been part of that transition as Obama's Chief of Staff designate.
|Non-partisan||Rahm Emanuel (Incumbent)||319,543||55.7|
|Non-partisan||Jesús "Chuy" García||253,981||44.3|
|Non-partisan||Rahm Emanuel (Incumbent)||218,217||45.63|
|Non-partisan||Jesús "Chuy" García||160,414||33.55|
|Non-partisan||William "Dock" Wallis III||13,250||2.77|
|Non-partisan||Miguel del Valle||54,342||9.28|
|Non-partisan||Carol Moseley Braun||52,483||8.96|
|Non-partisan||Patricia Van Pelt Watkins||9,604||1.64|
|Non-partisan||William "Dock" Walls III||5,291||0.90|
|2002||Rahm Emanuel||Democratic||67%||Mark Augusti||Republican||29%||Frank Gonzalez||Libertarian||4%|
|2004||Rahm Emanuel (inc.)||Democratic||76%||Bruce Best||Republican||24%|
|2006||Rahm Emanuel (inc.)||Democratic||78%||Kevin White||Republican||22%|
|2008||Rahm Emanuel (inc.)||Democratic||74%||Tom Hanson||Republican||22%||Alan Augustson||Green||4%|
Emanuel and his wife, Amy Merritt Rule, have a son and two daughters. The family lives in the Ravenswood neighborhood on Chicago's north side. Rule converted to Judaism shortly before their wedding. Emanuel is a close friend of fellow Chicagoan David Axelrod, chief strategist for Obama's 2008 and 2012 presidential campaign, and Axelrod signed the ketuba, the Jewish marriage contract, at Emanuel's wedding. The Emanuels are members of the Chicago synagogue Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel. Rabbi Asher Lopatin of the congregation described Emanuel's family as "a very involved Jewish family", adding that "Amy was one of the teachers for a class for children during the High Holidays two years ago". Emanuel has said of his Judaism: "I am proud of my heritage and treasure the values it has taught me." Emanuel's children attended the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in the Hyde Park neighborhood on Chicago's south side.
Each year during the winter holidays, Emanuel takes a family trip where his children can be exposed to other cultures and parts of the world. Prior family trips have been to Vietnam, India, Kenya, Zambia, and South America. His 2015 holiday trip was scheduled for the island of Cuba.
Emanuel trains for and participates in triathlons. In 2011, he scored 9th out of 80 competitors in his age group. A passionate cyclist, he rides a custom-built, state-of-the-art Parlee road bike.
Like the president-elect, Emanuel is a Chicago native with a strong connection to the city's politicians. Both have inspired characters on the television series The West Wing, with Emanuel providing the model for Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman.
|New office|| Senior Advisor to the President
Served alongside: George Stephanopoulos, Sid Blumenthal
| White House Chief of Staff
Richard M. Daley
| Mayor of Chicago
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 5th congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Chris Van Hollen
| Chair of the House Democratic Caucus
A leadership election was held by the United States House of Representatives Democratic Caucus on November 17, 2006. The election determined who would be nominated by the caucus for Speaker of the House as well as who would occupy other leadership positions within the House Democratic Caucus in the 110th United States Congress. The following positions were nominated or elected on November 29: Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, House Majority Leader, House Majority Whip, House Assistant Majority Leader, Democratic Caucus Chair, and Democratic Caucus vice-Chair.2009 Illinois's 5th congressional district special election
A special election was held in Illinois's 5th congressional district in 2009 to fill the seat vacated by Rahm Emanuel. On April 7, Democratic nominee Michael Quigley defeated Republican nominee Rosanna Pulido and Green nominee Matt Reichel. Quigley was sworn in on April 21 and will serve out the current congressional term.
Emanuel officially resigned from the House of Representatives, effective January 2, in a letter to his constituents and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Emanuel was named White House Chief of Staff by incoming President-elect Barack Obama. Emanuel was first elected to Congress from Illinois's 5th congressional district in 2002. His resignation followed being re-elected to a fourth term.
The governor's office announced that a special primary election would be held on March 3 and special general election would be held on April 7. State law requires the governor to set a date for a congressional special election within five days of a vacancy being created. State law mandates that a general election must be held within 115 days of the vacancy. In an effort to cut costs and help save money, the date of the special general election coincided with municipal elections scheduled in Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding metropolitan areas.There were 24 candidates representing three political parties in the March 3 special primary election. The Democrats had 13 candidates; the Republicans had six candidates; and the Greens had five candidates.
Quigley, a 50-year-old Cook County commissioner, won the Democratic Party's primary with 22% of the vote. He defeated a strong field of Democrats, including state representatives John Fritchey (District 11) and Sara Feigenholtz (District 12), physician Victor Forys, and Chicago City Council alderman Patrick J. O'Connor (40th Ward).
Pulido, a Mexican-American and director of the Illinois Minuteman Project, won the Republican Party's primary with 25% of the vote. She defeated a handful of local businessmen, including Tom Hanson, David Anderson, Gregory Bedell, Daniel S. Kay, and Jon Stewart.
Reichel, a 27-year-old activist and political operative, won the Green Party's primary with 34% of the vote. He defeated four other candidates for the party's nomination. Reichel's margin of victory over fellow Green Party nominee Deb Gordils was extremely small—only 11 votes. Reichel won with 166 compared to Gordils' 155.
Nearly a month after the primaries, the three candidates took part in the April 7 special general election. Democratic Party candidate Michael Quigley defeated Republican Party candidate Rosanna Pulido and Green Party candidate Matt Reichel. Quigley won with 30,561 votes (69.2%); Pulido had 10,662 (24.2%) and Reichel had 2,911 (6.6%).The election did not receive a great deal of coverage, due to the district's heavy Democratic lean. The Republican Party did not put up a top-tier candidate, acknowledging that they were not even focusing on the race This is highlighted in the fact that the Republican nominee was the founder of an anti-illegal-immigration group, running in a district that is one-quarter Hispanic. The real fight was for the Democratic nomination, which would almost assure being elected to Congress. In fact, over 12,000 more votes were cast in the Democratic Primary than there were in the general election.2011 Chicago mayoral election
The city of Chicago, Illinois held a nonpartisan mayoral election on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. Incumbent Mayor Richard M. Daley, a member of the Democratic Party who had been in office since 1989, did not seek a seventh term as mayor. This was the first election since 1947 in which an incumbent mayor of Chicago did not seek reelection.Candidates needed to collect 12,500 petition signatures by November 22, 2010 to qualify for a place on the ballot. April 5, 2011 was scheduled to be a runoff election date if no candidate received an absolute majority.Rahm Emanuel won the race for mayor with more than 55% of the vote. He was inaugurated on May 16, 2011.The election saw the most candidates running on the ballot
of any Chicago mayoral election since 1919.2015 Chicago mayoral election
An election took place on February 24, 2015, to elect the mayor of Chicago. The election was non-partisan and no candidate received a majority. A runoff election was held between the top two finishers (both Democrats) on April 7, 2015, and resulted in the reelection of incumbent mayor Rahm Emanuel. The elections were concurrent with the 2015 Chicago aldermanic elections.
Emanuel ran for reelection, seeking a second term in office. In the first round, Emanuel received 46% of the vote and Democratic Cook County Commissioner Jesús "Chuy" García received 34%. Because no candidate received a majority, a runoff was held. In the runoff, Emanuel received 55.7% of the vote, winning the election. Garcia received 44.3% of the vote. 2015 was the first time the election advanced to a runoff since mayoral elections became non-partisan in 1999.2019 Chicago mayoral election
The 2019 Chicago mayoral election was the 2019 edition of the quadrennial elections held to determine the Mayor of the city of Chicago, Illinois. The election was held on February 26, 2019. Since no candidate received a majority of votes, a runoff election was held on April 2, 2019 between the two candidates with the most votes, Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle. Lightfoot defeated Preckwinkle in the runoff election, becoming mayor-elect of Chicago. Lightfoot is scheduled to take office on May 20, 2019.The election was officially nonpartisan, with its winner being elected to a four-year term. The elections were concurrent with the 2019 Chicago aldermanic elections to elect all 50 members of the Chicago City Council, as well as with elections for City Clerk of Chicago and City Treasurer of Chicago.
Incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel initially announced he would run for a third term but withdrew in September 2018. Emanuel was first elected in 2011 (winning in the first round with 55.19% of the vote) and reelected in 2015 (receiving 55.7% of the vote in the runoff election).
The runoff was historic, as it assured Chicago would elect its first African-American female mayor, and its second female mayor overall, after Jane Byrne. Not only will Lightfoot be the first African-American woman mayor in Chicago's history, but she will be the first openly LGBT person to lead Chicago. When Lightfoot is sworn in, she will head the largest city won by an African American woman, as well as the largest by an openly LGBT person, in United States history.Chicago Department of Transportation
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT ) is an executive department of the City of Chicago responsible for the safety, environmental sustainability, maintenance, and aesthetics of the surface transportation networks and public ways within the city. This includes the planning, design, construction, and management of streets, sidewalks, bridges, and alleys.
CDOT is headed by the Commissioner of Transportation, an appointee and cabinet member of the Mayor of Chicago. The second in command at CDOT is the First Deputy Commissioner, who serves as a liaison between the Commissioner's office and the various operational sections. Managing Deputy Commissioners may also be placed by the Commissioner for assistance in policy and operational oversight.
CDOT is organized into several Divisions each headed by a Deputy Commissioner, including the Divisions of Administration, Project Development, Engineering, In-House Construction, Electrical Operations, Sign Management, Traffic Safety, and Infrastructure Management.Chicagoland (TV series)
Chicagoland is a documentary series that debuted its pilot episode at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2014. It was aired on CNN in eight successive weekly broadcasts beginning March 6, 2014, and ending April 24, 2014. It is executive produced by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn and created by Mark Benjamin and Marc Levin. During its production, the documentary received assistance from the office of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel.Debra Silverstein
Debra Silverstein is the Alderman of the 50th Ward of the City of Chicago, Illinois. She defeated 38-year incumbent Bernard Stone in the 2011 runoff election, a race in which she was endorsed by Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel.Fleas (The Good Wife)
"Fleas" is the sixteenth episode of the first season of the American legal drama television series The Good Wife. It aired on CBS in the United States on March 9, 2010. In the episode, the firm defends an attorney charged with murder for allegedly providing a witness list to his drug dealer client, which resulted in the death of a federal witness. Meanwhile, Peter grows jealous of Alicia's relationship with Will, and an anonymous Twitter user is making disparaging posts about Alicia.
The episode was written by Amanda Segel and directed by Rosemary Rodriguez. It marked the second in a string of guest appearances by Alan Cumming as Eli Gold, a cutthroat political operative whom several commentators said closely resembled White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Ana Gasteyer, a comedian best known from her work on the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, also appears as Judge Patrice Lessner.Garry McCarthy
Garry Francis McCarthy (born May 4, 1959) is an American public servant, law enforcement officer, politician, and former Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. He was a candidate for Mayor of Chicago in the 2019 Chicago mayoral election.Matthew O'Shea
Matthew O'Shea is the Alderman of the 19th ward of Chicago. He has been supportive of Rahm Emanuel as Mayor of Chicago, and has claimed to have made safety a top priority for his ward.Mayor of Chicago
The Mayor of Chicago is the chief executive of Chicago, Illinois, the third-largest city in the United States. The mayor is responsible for the administration and management of various city departments, submits proposals and recommendations to the Chicago City Council, is active in the enforcement of the city's ordinances, submits the city's annual budget and appoints city officers, department commissioners or directors, and members of city boards and commissions.
During sessions of the city council, the mayor serves as the presiding officer. The mayor submits proposals and recommendations to the city council of his own accord and on behalf of city departments. The mayor is not allowed to vote on issues except in certain instances, most notably where the vote taken on a matter before the body results in a tie.
The office of mayor was created when Chicago became a city in 1837.Michelle A. Harris
Michelle A. Harris is an American politician who is the alderman of Chicago's 8th ward and the chair of the Chicago City Council's rules committee. She was raised on the south side of Chicago where she attended Chicago Vocational High School and Chicago State University. Harris began her aldermanic career in 2006. In 2014, she had expressed support for a proposed marijuana dispensary on 87th street and by 2015 had changed her opinion on the issue. Also in 2014, she was investigated by the Illinois Attorney General for violating Illinois' Open Meetings Act for failure to give adequate notice that two referenda were to be on a public meetings agenda. In 2015 she "demanded" along with 14 other African-American aldermen, that Mayor Rahm Emanuel fire Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy due to inefficacy in combating murders in her ward.In an article titled "The Big Spenders—and What They Charged", Chicago magazine lists out the most egregious examples of luxurious spending of campaign contributions by Illinois politicians. Harris, for example, is cited for used her campaign account in the amount of $3,849 for airfare to Turkey in 2012.Naftali Bendavid
Naftali Bendavid is the Congressional reporter for The Wall Street Journal. He was previously the deputy Washington bureau chief, White House correspondent and Justice Department correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, as well as a reporter for the Miami Herald and Legal Times. He is also published in the Los Angeles Times, has appeared on NPR's Diane Rehm show and PBS' Washington Week, and is the author of The Thumpin': How Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats Learned to be Ruthless and Ended the Republican Revolution. He also edited Obama: The Essential Guide to the Democratic Nominee.Bendavid graduated from Columbia University in 1985 with a degree in political science, and has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University.Nicholas Sposato
Nicholas Sposato serves on the Chicago City Council as alderman of the 38th Ward of the City of Chicago on the city's Northwest Side. Sposato was elected in 2011 in an election against incumbent alderman John Rice, who was endorsed by then Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel.Pete Rouse
Peter Mikami Rouse (born April 15, 1946) is an American political consultant who served as interim White House Chief of Staff to U.S. President Barack Obama. Rouse has spent years on Capitol Hill, becoming known as the "101st senator" during his tenure as Chief of Staff to Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle.
When Daschle lost his seat in 2004, Rouse was persuaded to stay in Congress as Chief of Staff to then-freshman Senator Barack Obama. Rouse followed Obama to the White House as a senior advisor in 2008 and became interim Chief of Staff there for several months following the departure of Rahm Emanuel in October 2010, and subsequent appointment of William M. Daley the following January. Rouse remained with the White House until late 2013 as Counselor to the President.Robert R. Thomas
Robert Randall Thomas (born August 7, 1952) is a justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois and a former professional football player. He has served as the Illinois Supreme Court Justice for the Second District since December 4, 2000, and as Chief Justice from September 6, 2005 to September 5, 2008. His political affiliation is Republican.Sophia King
Sophia King is the alderman for Chicago’s 4th Ward, which includes Bronzeville, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland and South Loop at its northern edge. King was sworn in on April 13, 2016 to succeed Will Burns, who resigned to become Vice President of Governmental Affairs with AirBnB. Prior to her appointment to the Chicago City Council by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, she was President of Harriet’s Daughters, a non-profit organization dedicated to employment and wealth creation opportunities for African-American neighborhoods.Susie Sadlowski Garza
Susan Sadlowski Garza is a member of the Chicago City Council serving as Alderman for the 10th ward. The 10th ward is located on Chicago's southeast side and includes East Side, Hegewisch, Jeffrey Manor, South Chicago and South Deering. She is serving her first term after defeating Rahm Emanuel ally John Pope in the 2015 election.
1 Acting officeholder. 2 Election declared null and void.
Mayors of the largest cities by GDP
Mayors of cities with populations exceeding 100,000 in Illinois