President Obama's chief of staff - and chief enforcer - Rahm Emanuel is stepping down Friday to launch his bid to be mayor of Chicago, The Associated Press is reporting.

Emanuel is expected to launch a new campaign website soon and could be walking the streets of the Windy City as soon as Monday, the AP says.

Sources have told the Daily News that Emanuel would declare his plans by Friday.

Speculation over Emanuel's future erupted after longtime Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced earlier this month that he would not seek reelection.

Emanuel, a congressman from Chicago before he joined the White House, has said that being mayor is his dream job and he even polled voters to test his chances.

A source close to Emanuel had warned that he was weighing the decision with his family, as he did before deciding to uproot them two years ago to come to Washington.