Some aldermanic candidates say they'd happily take Emanuel's leftover cash

February 24, 2011

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(Getty/John Gress)
Emanuel hasn't disclosed how much money he has left in his campaign warchest to give to aldermanic runoff candidates.
(Getty/Jonathan Daniel)
Chicago's mayor-elect, Rahm Emanuel, chats with the Chicago Bulls mascot, Benny, at a game Thursday night.

Some candidates for Chicago alderman headed to runoff races said Thursday they will seek help from the mayor-elect. Rahm Emanuel said he plans to provide political resources and ideas to candidates who will be partners in "reform and change."

Emanuel had more than $13 million at his disposal during the campaign. There are "resources" left over, he said, but claimed he does not know the dollar amount.

He is likely to get lots of requests for help.

Ald. Sharon Dixon of the 24th Ward faces a runoff after getting just 19-percent in a crowded field on Tuesday. She said she will talk to Emanuel "as soon as [she] possibly can."

They will talk about issues, Dixon said, as well as money.

"We will definitely talk about campaign resources. Yes," she said. "That will be part of the conversation. I am in a runoff."

An endorsement may also help; Emanuel won 60-percent of the vote in Dixon's ward. She faces former Ald. Michael Chandler in the runoff.

On the Northwest Side in the 45th Ward, small business owner John Arena is one of the candidates headed to a runoff. The seat is currently held by retiring Ald. Pat Levar.

Arena said he wants to talk to Emanuel, who got more than half the vote in the ward. But Arena noted he will not accept help if there are strings attached.

"If it's expected that...I can't maintain my independence, then no, I wouldn't accept it," Arena said.

Arena's opponent, police officer John Garrido, said he's hopeful Emanuel stays out of the race. But Garrido said if Emanuel chooses to endorse a candidate in the ward, he hopes it's him.

In the South Side's 6th Ward, Emanuel won 59-percent of the vote. The challenger there, Roderick Sawyer,said his campaign could use Emanuel's money if the mayor-elect chooses to work with him.

"But we don't want to put all of our eggs in one basket and say that's the end-all and be-all of this campaign," said Sawyer, who is a lawyer and the son of a former mayor, Eugene Sawyer. "That's just one step. You know, there's other money out there."

Sawyer is up against incumbent Ald. Freddrenna Lyle. Lyle endorsed former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun in the mayor's race, but said she's talked to Emanuel a few times about issues.

Asked if she'd accept campaign money from the mayor-elect, Lyle said she is "not ruling out any support unless the devil comes in with a check."

And Lyle said she does not think Emanuel is the devil.

Fourteen city council runoff elections will be held on April 5th.