(CNN) - Rahm Emanuel formally announced his bid for mayor of Chicago on Saturday, a move that has been widely anticipated since he stepped down as President Obama's chief of staff last month.
Flanked by his family, Emanuel made his first formal pitch to lead Chicago in a crowded school auditorium on Chicago's North Side.
"Because I love this city, the place my family came to, the place where I was born, I want to fight for a better future for all the people of Chicago and that's why today I'm announcing my candidacy for mayor," he said.
Though he officially announced his candidacy Saturday, Emanuel campaigned across the city for the past month and conducted a listening tour throughout Chicago neighborhoods.
The former Illinois congressman headed up the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2006 elections and remained a top strategist in the 2008 cycle before joining the Obama administration, a choice he addressed in his speech.
"Only the opportunity to help President Obama as his chief of staff could have pried me a way from Chicago, and only the opportunity to lead this city could have pried me away from the president's side," Emanuel said.
He is just one of the half dozen or so candidates that have or announced or are expected to announce a run.