If his campaign war chest is any indication, just two years into his first term as Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel is eyeing a second.
Reports show the mayor's main campaign fund, Chicago for Rahm Emanuel, enjoyed an apparent fourth-quarter fundraising blitz. The Tribune reports, according to state board of elections records filed Tuesday, the mayor's fund netted more than $567,000 in the last three months of 2012 and another $87,000 since January.
When pressed for whether the new influx of meant the mayor was indeed ramping up for a second term in office, Emanuel's mayoral consultant John Kupper gave reporters a classic non-answer via email:
"After raising funds for President Obama's successful re-election on Nov. 6, Mayor Emanuel has begun to focus on his next campaign for a stronger, safer and more prosperous Chicago. His donors support those goals and value the mayor's leadership."
Kupper shot much straighter with Crain's Chicago Business' Greg Hinz, saying, "I think it's safe to say that, after focusing on helping the Obama re-election effort, Rahm is now turning his attention to his own re-election."
Though the 2015 election is a ways off, NBC Chicago reports there may already be competition for Emanuel in the form of Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, and current Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Crain's notes that due to new campaign contribution laws, Emanuel will need to build his war chest in smaller increments with the abolishment of individual donations of $100,000 or more. The new limits, which started smack in the middle of the 2011 mayoral race campaign season, cap donations to a candidate per election at $5,000 for individuals, $10,000 for businesses and $50,000 for political action committees.
So far, many of the mayor's backers are coming from major Chicago law firms (or rather, the firm's many employees) like Kirkland & Ellis and Jenner & Block, as well as insurance and consulting giant, Aon Corp.
For his 2011 win, Emanuel's campaign raised more than $13 million, while the campaign of his next-closest rival, Gery Chico, raised just over $4.3 million.