White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. had a private meeting Wednesday night to discuss the Chicago mayor's race--and their possible candidacies.
According to Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, the two met in Washington and "had a conversation not only about the race, but about the city itself."
Both Emanuel and Jackson Jr. have been mulling Chicago mayoral runs--along with dozens of others.
"Rahm and I agreed that the city's financial crisis puts Chicago at a tipping point," Jackson Jr. told POLITICO of his meeting with Emanuel. "The ramifications of this tipping point could tear at the social, political and economic fiber that holds our city together and makes it great. Both of us are very concerned about the upcoming November 2nd election and the subsequent municipal elections, and agreed that every possible contender should conduct their effort on the moral high ground because our city deserves a very serious debate about its economic future."
Emanuel has already hired a pollster to determine whether Chicagoans would support him for mayor, and Jackson Jr. said he has been meeting with other rumored candidates throughout the week.
"Everyone is talking about the mayor's race," Jackson Jr. told POLITICO.
A source told the Chicago Tribune that Emanuel is "talking to a number of people, including political, neighborhood and civic leaders" about his possible bid--and he has not decided whether or not to leave the White House yet.
Jackson Jr. said he has already met with Sen. James Meeks, Rep. Danny Davis, Rep. Luis Gutierrez and his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson to discuss the mayor's race. All are mulling bids--and Gutierrez seems to be getting closer to an official announcement.
Gutierrez told POLITICO on Wednesday that he plans to transfer money from his federal campaign account to a committee in the state and the he will begin polling soon. He said he'll make contributions to help Democrats retain control of the House but that a portion of his $500,000-plus war chest will be devoted to exploring a mayoral run.
State Sen. Rickey Hendon announced that he would be running for mayor on Wednesday, calling himself the "black Sarah Palin" while doing so, and former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun will begin collecting signatures later this week.
The list of potential candidates has been growing since Mayor Richard M. Daley announced that he would not be seeking a seventh term last week. Check out our roundup of possible and announced candidates here.