After 21 years in office, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced this week that he will not seek re-election in 2011. The surprise news instantly sparked speculation that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel would take his place on the Democratic ticket. In April, Emanuel told talk show host Charlie Rose that it's "always been an aspiration of mine" to be Chicago's mayor. And people close to Emanuel tell The Washington Post that, with Daley out of the running, Emanuel is almost certain to run. With a difficult midterm election for the Democrats quickly approaching, will Rahm Emanuel quit the Obama administration and go for his dream job? (Watch an MSNBC discussion about Rahm's chances of running)

Get ready for Mayor Emanuel: "It’s not 100 percent certain that" Rahm Emanuel will run for mayor of Chicago, says Jonathan Alter in Newsweek, "but the odds favor it." And he would be a "formidable" candidate. In 2002, he convinced Chicagoans to elect him to the House "with no prior experience in elective office." If he can secure the support of President Obama and, more importantly, Mayor Daley, he'll be tough to beat.
"Will Rahm Emanuel run for Chicago mayor?"

He's no shoo-in: You'd think that Rahm Emanuel's "fame, money, connections, and raw political talent would make him the instant frontrunner," says Ben Smith in Politico. But that's far from certain. Chicago is "full of ambitious pols" gunning for the city's top spot, which hasn't been truly up for grabs in more than 20 years. Of course, Emanuel "clearly" has the "sheer work ethic" needed in a tough campaign. But this race is far from over.
"Rahm's obstacles"

Emanuel's gain is Obama's loss: Emanuel "has made no secret about his desire to be Chicago mayor," say the editors of MSNBC's First Read blog, and if he wanted to "tamp down" speculation that he's running, "he would have done so" by now. But the "timing" of this is "awful" for Obama — the "last thing" he needs in this make-or-break election year is "uncertainty" on his own team. Emanuel knows he has to make a decision fast, so it looks like Obama will have to go into the midterms without him.
"First Thoughts: Mayor Rahm?"