It's Official: Emanuel for Chicago Mayor

Former White House chief of staff has officially thrown his hat into the ring.

Oct. 3, 2010— -- Rahm Emanuel officially announced his candidacy for mayor of Chicago in a YouTube video that was posted today on his new campaign website,

Emanuel's announcement has been expected since Friday, when he resigned from his position as White House chief of staff and then immediately left Washington for Chicago.

In today's video announcement, Emanuel praised current Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's leadership, but spoke of a need to address Chicago's challenges, from safety on the streets to improving schools and attracting jobs.

Emanuel said an early part of his campaign will involve a listening tour across Chicago's neighborhoods to find out what Chicago residents want from their next mayor.

"As I prepare to run for mayor, I'm going to spend the next few weeks visiting our neighborhoods," he said in the two-minute, 11-second video announcement.

"I'm calling this the 'Tell It Like It Is' tour, because I want to hear from you in blunt terms ... what you think about our city, and how the next mayor and you, can make it better," he said.

In the video announcement he highlighted his links to the city where he was born and raised by his parents, who emigrated from Israel.

Emanuel and his wife Amy also raised their three children in Chicago while he served three terms representing a North Side district in Congress.

His website features a "Tell it Like It Is" blog that currently features a transcript of today's announcement and a post containing coverage of President Obama's remarks on Emanuel's departure from his cabinet.

Emanuel had to declare his intent to enter the race by Nov. 22, the filing deadline in Chicago. Candidates need to collect 12,500 signatures by that day to qualify for a Feb. 22, 2011 Democratic primary.

Among the Democrats who have already announced they're running for mayor or hinted at it are Gery Chico, the Chicago School Board president and a close Daley ally, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and State Sen. James Meeks, the pastor of a South Side church.

Even before his official announcement today, Emanuel drew questions from one of his opponents in the race.

Chico challenged Emanuel to release details about his dealings with former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration over the U.S. Senate seat once held by Obama.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.