Despite criticism this summer that he hadn’t lived in Illinois for more than a year and had yet to prove his mettle to residents, Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff to President Obama, leads the pack to be the next mayor of Chicago. According to a poll commissioned by the Teamsters Union and published in the Chicago Sun Times on Nov.17, 36 percent of Chicago voters are likely to vote for him.

Emanuel, who only recently formally announced his run for the post being vacated by Mayor Richard Daley III, was shown to have an early popularity lead to go along with $1.75 million in campaign funds. Such puts him far ahead of a handful of other contenders, including Congressman Danny Davis, D-Ill., and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, D-Ill., who are competing for second place among voters according to the Teamsters poll.

Braun, who served as U. S. Ambassador to New Zealand during the Clinton administration, made political history in 1992 when she was elected to the U.S. Senate, becoming the first Black female to be seated in that chamber.

She entered the Chicago mayor’s race Nov. 19, having collected more than 90,000 signatures, the largest ever recorded by any candidate over a short span of time, according to the Sun-Times.

But, Braun’s foray onto the Chicago political scene has been described as an attempt to revive her political career after losing a re-election bid following only a single term in Washington.

After a stinging defeat more than a decade ago, Braun had announced that she’d had enough of politics and wanted to take some time off. But she apparently had a change of heart in 2004 when she sought the Democratic presidential nomination.

At that time, she criticized President George W. Bush for playing on people’s fears. After struggling to raise money for her campaign, she later bowed out of the race.

Davis has served in Congress since 1997, and was encouraged to run for mayor by a coalition of Black leaders as their preferred candidate over Braun and state Senator James Meeks, one of Chicago’s most prominent ministers.

Davis, who won re-election to Congress earlier this month with 80 percent of the vote and has served on the Cook County, Ill. Board and Chicago city council, has an edge in office holding, according to the ministers.