Washington (CNN) – White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is likely to leave his West Wing post on Friday to explore a bid for Chicago mayor, two sources close to Emanuel tell CNN.
But the sources, who would only speak on the condition of anonymity, stressed that the announcement, which could come at an official White House ceremony with President Obama, may also slide until early next week as final details of Emanuel's departure are still being hammered out.
The sources noted that Emanuel has still not actually made a final decision about running for mayor, but it is believed that it is all-but-certain he will officially announce his candidacy shortly. "He's getting close to making a decision," said one of the sources. "I don't see this stretching out much longer."
That's because Emanuel has until Nov. 22 to acquire the signatures needed to qualify for the ballot and then would face a Feb. 22 Democratic primary that could be very difficult to win given the number of prospective candidates from various factions of the party lining up to run.
The sources added that even if Emanuel's departure from the White House is announced Friday, he is unlikely to immediately announce his candidacy this weekend. Advisers said that Emanuel would prefer to put some distance between his White House exit and the time it will take to line up supporters in Chicago before officially announcing his run.
The sources added White House senior adviser Pete Rouse, a trusted Obama aide, is still expected to become acting chief of staff on a temporary basis.