It’s a widely held view among political observers that Mayor Daley, despite his insistence that he’s not taking sides in the mayoral race, is secretly pulling the strings for Rahm Emanuel.

Yet, several recent developments suggest the Emanuel-Daley alliance may not be as tight as suggested.

The Sun-Times’ Michael Sneed reported Tuesday that Rahm gave the tenant of his North Side home a six-month extension to the lease on September 1st. Just days later, Daley shocked the city by announcing he’s not running for a seventh term. Had Rahm even suspected that the mayor job would open up, he presumably would have said no to the lease extension. (The tenant has since insisted that Rahm honor the extension, Sneed says.)

Also, Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal reported that the Mayor’s brother, Bill Daley—the super-politically-minded commerce secretary under Bill Clinton and chairman of Al Gore’s campaign in 2000—named just-announced mayoral candidate Gery Chico, Daley’s appointee to head the city colleges and the mayor’s former chief of staff, as the best qualified of the mayoral hopefuls.

I thought Bill and Rahm were best friends. When I was interviewing then-Congressman Emanuel in October 2004 for a profile of Bill Daley, Rahm told me, “I trust Bill …with my life. [We] talk constantly.”

Still, my guess is that both Daleys are rooting for Rahm. A source close to Rahm told me that “Rahm would not have run unless he had Rich Daley’s support,” and that Bill Daley’s kind words about Chico might have been a kind of “subterfuge” designed to disguise—for the time being—the Daley brothers’ support of Rahm.

And perhaps the mayor knew that a “heads-up” would not have been 100 percent safe with blabbermouth Rahm, a source (as in “a source close to the President”) for so many in the media.

Emanuel is expected to announce that he is leaving his White House job, a post he’s held since January 2009, and move back to Chicago over the weekend to hit the campaign trail immediately. (His wife and three children will remain in DC until the end of the school year.)

Post script: None of the candidates in consideration for Rahm’s job—all male and all white, ranging from former Sen. Tom Daschle to CIA chief Leon Panetta—is from Chicago.