Barack Obama's man Rahm Emanuel challenged by own tenant?

By Jennifer Lipman, November 24, 2010
Rahm Emanuel with Barack Obama

Rahm Emanuel with Barack Obama

Barack Obama’s former chief of staff has hit an unusual obstacle in his bid to become the next mayor of Chicago.

Rahm Emanuel, the Jewish politician who left the White House in September to concentrate on the 2011 vote, could be challenged by his own tenant.

Rob Halpin, who has described himself as “a businessman, not a professional politician”, has told US reporters that he is planning to take on his landlord.

He has already proved a problem by refusing to move out of the property he was renting when Mr Emanuel returned to the city from Washington.

Mr Halpin said his candidacy was “not a joke.”

“I do want to be mayor,” he added. “This has nothing to do with Rahm Emanuel.”

President Obama’s home state has long had a reputation for political drama – in 2008 it emerged that the Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was attempting to sell the state’s Senate seat governors – and it seems the mayoral race will be no exception.

Mr Emanuel, who previously served as an Illinois congressman and was an aide to President Bill Clinton, is also facing questions over whether he can legally run to be mayor because he has been living in Washington DC.

Around 20 candidates have already applied to stand in the race to succeed Richard Daley, who is retiring from public life after twenty years as mayor.

Last updated: 11:18am, November 24 2010