Why Rahm Emanuel hasn’t announced his candidacy

Tamara Holder Contributor
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On September 7, Mayor Daley told Chicagoans he wouldn’t be seeking re-election. Since then, we’ve all been wondering, “Is Rahm Emanuel running or isn’t he?”

Upon hearing the news of Daley’s departure, almost every former and current Illinois politician has thrown his or her name into the hat. No joke. We have heard that several aldermen, the Cook County sheriff, the Cook County assessor, a congressman or two or three, and even a few community organizers, want Mayor Daley’s seat.

Not so fast.

The one person who has remained tight-lipped about his possible run for mayor is White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. During the past three weeks, he has allowed the mere speculation to make front page news.


According to my source, it has to do with that one guy who just won’t go away: Rod Blagojevich.

Emanuel needs certainty that the Blagojevich re-trial will not put a wrinkle in his campaign. We know Emanuel was sent by Obama to convey one message to Governor Blagojevich: appoint Valerie Jarrett to my soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat. We also know that Emanuel was an alleged victim in a totally separate criminal charge against Blagojevich who allegedly attempted to extort Emanuel when he was a congressman. According to the complaint:

It was further part of the scheme that, in response to inquiries by a high-ranking state official as to whether the grant money could be released, defendant ROD BLAGOJEVICH informed the official that ROD BLAGOJEVICH wanted it communicated to United States Congressman A that United States Congressman A’s brother needed to have a fundraiser for ROD BLAGOJEVICH.

It was further part of the scheme that defendant ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Lobbyist A that ROD BLAGOJEVICH was giving a $2 million grant to a school in United States Congressman A’s district and instructed Lobbyist A to approach United States Congressman A for a fundraiser.

The problem is that Emanuel was a key witness for the prosecution but was never called in the first trial. Now, because the jury was hung on both the attempted sale of Obama’s Senate seat and the attempted extortion counts, Emanuel’s testimony is required if the prosecution doesn’t want to lose the case again.

The mayoral election is February 22, 2011. The Blagojevich re-trial is set to begin on January 4, 2011 and is expected to last about 10-weeks. The timing couldn’t be any worse for Emanuel: the trial will be held during the final stretch of Emanuel’s campaign!

My source tells me that the White House is very disturbed about the timing of the re-trial and the administration even sent people from Washington to meet with United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. According to my source, part of the negotiations involved the dismissed charges against Blagojevich’s co-defendant/brother, Robert Blagojevich.

Interestingly, Blagojevich is scheduled be in court on Friday, October 1, the same day Emanuel is expected to formally announce his run for mayor.

Expect an interesting twist in the Blagojevich case. Expect the prosecution to possibly drop some charges against the former governor, if not Friday, before November 15. Expect that Emanuel’s formal announcement will not come before Blagojevich and his attorneys appear before the judge.

Emanuel understands that Blagojevich has nothing to lose and he will make sure he puts Emanuel on the witness stand at the same time he’s asking people for their vote.

This is where crime and politics meet again…

Tamara N. Holder is one of the nation’s rising attorneys and legal analytical stars.  She is a Contributor for the Fox News Channel.  She has received recognition from some of the country’s most respected people, organizations and publications.  Tamara founded The Law Firm of Tamara N. Holder, LLC, in 2005.  Her work includes: criminal defense, expungement, race discrimination, police brutality, public policy, and pro bono practices.  Seeing the need for outreach in this area, Tamara founded www.xpunged.com, a practice that provides a second chance to those individuals who have expungeable offenses under Illinois law.