Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.)
Tuesday, November 5, 2002; 11:00 PM
Election: Defeated Mark A. Augusti, R, to succeed Rod R. Blagojevich, D, who ran for governor:
Born: Nov. 29, 1959, Chicago, Ill.
Family: Wife, Amy Rule; three children
Education: Sarah Lawrence College, B.A. 1981; Northwestern U., M.A. 1985
Career: Investment bank executive; senior White House official; campaign aide and finance director
Political Highlights: No previous office
Some Democrats undoubtedly will welcome Rahm Emanuel when he takes his seat in January. But other House members might reflexively duck when they see him coming.
An investment banker in Chicago since early 1999, Emanuel is well remembered in Washington as a former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton — and as an occasional practitioner of hardball politics in that role.
Intense and confident, Emanuel developed a reputation during his nearly six years in the West Wing as a sharp-elbowed political tactician. Nicknamed "Rahmbo" after the take-no-prisoners action hero, Emanuel once sent a dead fish to a pollster.
During a visit to Chicago in February for his former aide, Clinton said Emanuel will enter Congress as "a breath of fresh air, blowing at gale-force speed." Emanuel helped direct successful efforts in the Clinton White House to pass the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement and the 1996 overhaul of welfare laws.
Emanuel raised eyebrows even before his election, which he clinched with a primary victory over former state Rep. Nancy Kaszak. He gave cash from his bountiful campaign treasury to Democratic House candidates and was mentioned as a potential chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez even ended his longtime bid to serve on the Ways and Means Committee and recommended Emanuel for the plum spot.