Down to the wire in Chicago mayoral race with Rahm Emanuel leading
Former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel leads handily in the polls. Tuesday's election will tell whether he has the majority necessary to avoid a runoff election in April.
The leading candidates to succeed Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley spent Sunday in a place where uplift could help their poll standings: church.Skip to next paragraph
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Speaking from pulpits throughout Chicago, the mayoral hopefuls spoke of strengthening families by encouraging participation at school desks and church pews throughout Chicago neighborhoods. On the eve of Tuesday’s election, the gentle sermonizing was less political and had a tone of community unity.
As evidenced in many of the candidates’ messages these recent weeks, however, many of their prayers are heavenward petitions for a runoff, which would extend the election by six weeks to April 5.
Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel leads each poll.
His highest rating was 49 percent, according to the Chicago Tribune earlier this month, more than twice that of former Chicago School Board of Education president Gery Chico, his nearest competitor in the polling.
Yet his competitors are encouraged by the fact that Mr. Emanuel has not achieved a majority in the polling, and they say extending the election will force Emanuel to answer questions about his background and proposals they say he has evaded to date.
“We need a runoff to keep talking about the issues Chicagoans care about,” Miguel del Valle said Monday.
Emanuel acknowledged Sunday that a runoff is a possibility.
“It may take one or two bites at the apple,” he said. “But my goal here is not to measure that. It’s to measure and make sure that people know my position on the issues.”
Emanuel is unlike any candidate for office in Chicago in recent history due to his national credentials working for two US presidents as a policy adviser and fundraiser and for his immense campaign fund, totaling $8.3 million, making his the richest in the state.
Many here also see him entrenched with Mayor Daley, despite the fact that the incumbent mayor has yet to give Emanuel an official endorsement. To them, news that William Daley, the mayor’s brother, was named as Emanuel’s replacement in the White House suggested a deal was in the making as soon as Emanuel declared his candidacy.