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Moseley Braun Sharpens Anti-Rahm Strategy

CHICAGO (CBS ) -- Some feel the battle for the fifth-floor office at City Hall has already been conceded to former North Side Congressman Rahm Emanuel.

But CBS 2 Chief correspondent Jay Levine reports, one of his challengers, Carol Moseley Braun, has a strategy in mind.

The former U.S. senator will deliver 75,000 signatures to the city Board of Elections Monday – more than six times the number required.

Braun also reminded Levine that she won 48 of 50 city wards in Chicago in her last election. Of course, that was a general election against conservative Republican Peter Fitzgerald, and a Democrat would be expected to clean up.

In the February race for mayor, there is a strong Democratic field led by Emanuel, who has been reaching out to black aldermen and ministers and block clubs and getting positive vibes.

Still, Braun strategist Mike Noonan downplays the Rahm factor.

"Twenty-eight years ago, the polls showed that Richard M. Daley was walking away with the election . .. yet Harold Washington won that race in '83," he said.

Noonan ran Lisa Madigan's campaigns for attorney general and also engineered last week's upset defeat of Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica. Noonan says the biggest goal is to get Braun and Emanuel into a runoff later in the spring.

"When it's a two-person choice, the choice will be easier for folks," Noonan said.

Her campaign plans to attack Emanuel on immigration reform and his differences with Congressman Luis Gutierrez, in hopes of tapping the Latino vote. But there's one more tactic: exploit Emanuel's legendary temper.

"When a guy like that's buttons are pushed, we expect to see a reaction, and that kind of reaction we believe the people of Chicago are not gonna like," Noonan said.

So far, voters have seen no hint of Emanuel's temper. In fact, he's been the model of reason and restraint – but in fairly limited and tightly controlled contact with reporters.

A number of mayoral candidates are expected to formally announce this weekend.

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