He may have only had a small part in the Chicago mayoral election, but Rahm Emanuel's tenant Rob Halpin has somehow managed to prolong his 15 minutes in the spotlight.
The man who is renting Rahm Emanuel's two-story home in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood threw an early curveball into the race by refusing to leave the home before his lease was up. That forced the Emanuels to rent another place in Chicago, and fueled the early debate over whether Rahm was actually a resident of the city. The Illinois Supreme Court would ultimately settle that debate in Emanuel's favor, in a sideshow that some say helped him win the race.
Halpin then turned heads by trying to parlay his notoriety into something no one expected: a political career. Hey, if he could stand up to Emanuel over a lease, why not over the future of Chicago? He began collecting signatures on petitions to place him on the ballot for mayor.
Speculation swirled as to who put him up to it: some thought Ed Burke, a powerful alderman, might have backed him to needle Rahm; Halpin described a coalition of South Side businessmen. Either way, the candidacy was over almost before it began.
Later, during the hearings surrounding Emanuel's Chicago residency, testimony by Halpin's wife got investigators rummaging through storage areas in the basement of the Emanuel house.
And now, with Emanuel as the mayor-elect of Chicago, the Halpins are apparently thinking about sticking around.
In her column today, the Sun-Times's Michael Sneed quotes Halpin as saying, "If they wanted us to stay on we would consider it. There aren't any hard feelings on our part."
That seems like a mighty big "if," though, given how the Halpins have antagonized their landlord. Sneed also reports that Emanuel told her privately that he plans on moving back to that house when the current lease is up in June. Maureen Dowd also mentioned the Halpin/Emanuel relationship in New York Times:
When I asked what revenge he is plotting against his scheming tenant, Emanuel looked mischievous but bit his tongue. Of course, as Jon Stewart notes, the only thing scarier than Rahm Emanuel angry "is Rahm Emanuel smiling through his anger."
Sneed ends her bit on Halpin with a pointed quip: "I think the word fumigation may be an apt description of what the Emanuels would like to do to the house."