Rahm Emanuel's fundraising machinery in the Chicago mayoral race was a force of nature. By the day before the election, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform reported that he had raised nearly $10 million in the for the race.
Emanuel had cash in his coffers in part to prepare for a potential run-off election, which would have prolonged the campaign six weeks. But, having won outright on Tuesday, he's now got a healthy campaign fund to push around as he sees fit.
An email message from the Emanuel camp sent this afternoon reported a ballpark figure for their leftover money:
In response to a request from many of you, I wanted to provide an estimate of cash-on-hand remaining in the campaign fund. It's only an estimate because we have subtracted what we know are the outstanding expenditures, but there could be something we are missing and the final report with all of the expenditures is not immediately due.
The estimate of cash-on-hand remaining is $2.1 million -- and again I caution you that the final number could be slightly different when all is said and done.
What will Emanuel do with all that money? Some of it is likely to be spent influencing the make-up of the City Council. Fourteen aldermanic races will go to runoffs on April 5, and Emanuel has openly said that he would be willing to back reform-minded candidates who sought his help.
The Chicago Tribune relayed a conversation with the mayor-elect in which he described the "scope and scale" of the assistance he might offer aldermanic candidates: "Some candidates may want to hold a town hall with him at their side. Others may solicit financial assistance, which he's prepared to offer if they want it."
Emanuel could use the funds to build alliances on the future Council, which he'll need to advance his ambitious agenda.
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