Huffpost Chicago

Rahm Emanuel's Tenant Rob Halpin Running For Chicago Mayor?

Posted: Updated:

With such lions as Congressman Luis Gutierrez and Sheriff Tom Dart abandoning the Chicago mayoral race, and the black community divided despite its best efforts at unity, the serious challengers to Rahm Emanuel's candidacy are few and far between.

One opponent, however, may come from an unlikely place: inside Rahm's own home.

The Chicago Tribune's John Kass reports in his Wednesday column that Rob Halpin, the tenant who's renting Rahm's home on 4228 North Hermitage for $5,000 a month, is considering throwing his hat in the mayoral ring after being approached about it this weekend.

Halpin, a businessman and cigar aficionado, made a splash locally when Emanuel announced he'd be returning to Chicago to run for mayor. Despite an apparently generous offer, Halpin refused to move out of Emanuel's home.

The timing was bad for all parties involved -- just a few days before Mayor Daley announced his retirement, Halpin had signed a new, year-long lease for Emanuel's home.

But Halpin's standing up to the former White House Chief of Staff was enough to attract the attention of some local Republican operatives, Kass reports:

"It was Sunday," Halpin said. "My children and I were watching the Chicago Bears. They asked if we could spend a few minutes talking about why I would be a good mayor."

Two of them at the Sunday meeting were James Parrilli, the 19th Ward Republican committeeman, and John Cleary, an insurance guy.

"The guy who lives in that house doesn't have any love for Rahm," Parrilli said. "He's a businessman. He's aware of some of the history of the city. And he understands what needs to be done as a candidate, to create jobs and bring business back into the city."

Despite needing 12,500 petition signatures in the next two weeks, Halpin got into the idea. "Anybody that knows me will tell you that if I end up running for mayor, I will take it very seriously," Halpin said. But whatever Parrilli might say to his face, nominating the renter is certainly more symbolic than serious.

Emanuel's opponents hope to paint him as an outsider swooping into the city at the first sight of an opportunity. Most legal experts agree that Rahm Emanuel will meet the residency requirements to run for mayor. But keeping Halpin in the spotlight is a good way to remind voters of Emanuel's temporary departure from Chicago.

That being said, with his biggest opponents a little-known city clerk, a one-term Senator from the '90s, a controversial South Side minister and a rock-star genital-caster, Emanuel probably doesn't mind another symbolic challenge. As long as it's not a serious one.

WATCH Halpin discuss his possible run here:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.