Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is about as partisan a Democrat as there is in this country. But to win a second term and avoid a humiliating defeat, he'll need to win over and turn out the small number of Republicans in the city.
Emanuel isn't openly telegraphing his runoff strategy, but signs of his reliance on the party he has worked to oppose his whole career are everywhere. Gov. Bruce Rauner, a longtime acquaintance of the mayor's, has been working behind the scenes to help his friend, while GOP Sen. Mark Kirk warned this month that Chicago could become like Detroit if Emanuel isn't reelected. Rahm's most recent ad comes straight out of the Mitt Romney playbook, accusing his outspokenly liberal opponent, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, of wanting to hike Chicagoans' taxes by supporting $1.9 billion in spending programs. Several of the top donors to Emanuel's Chicago Forward super PAC are conservative Republicans, including hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin, a top Romney supporter and a Crossroads contributor, and investor Muneer Satter, who spent more than $1 million over the past few years on behalf of top Republican candidates and is backing Jeb Bush's campaign for president.
"The circles that Rahm travels in have always been pretty diverse because he has a strong connection to the financial industry," said Tom Bowen, Emanuel's former political director. "Rahm gets a diverse mix of donors—he does get money from Ken Griffin, a big Rauner supporter, but he also gets money from Michael Sacks, a big supporter of President Obama's."