I got a chance to meet ole Rahm last week at the Bryn Mawr “L”, and I got to pick his brain a little,and I was impressed with what I heard and the vibe I got from him. First of all he was sensitive to whether I was a fan or not, so I took it upon myself to ask some thought provoking questions. Like who’s better on the hoop court you or Obama? His answer , when we play the President, he wins..Now thats a Good Company Man… And whats the beer of choice after a hard grueling game..Miller MGD Light…We never want to get flabby now. And what did you and the Pres. listen to in the car? George Thorogoods “Bad to the Bone” Its the music of winners. Anyway, he made jokes and I was satisfied Rahm would win the Mayors horse race.
With four days left until the election for mayor of Chicago, Rahn the other five candidates were heading into the finish line of campaigning at full force like a champion steed. I’ve been tracking the candidates and what each candidate is hoping to accomplish during the final days of the race.
Despite a record number of aldermanic candidates and the first wide-open mayoral race since 1989, Chicago elections officials expect voter turnout to be just slightly over 50 percent Tuesday.
By Chicago standards the number is low. When Mayor Richard M. Daley first won office in 1989, there was a 68 percent turnout.
Langdon Neal, chairman of the city’s Board of Elections Commissioners, said today the expected drop off could be due to several factors including “voter fatigue.” Statewide elections for governor and U.S. Senate were just last November.
Four of the six candidates for mayor have significant support among voters. The question is whether five of the six candidates can keep frontrunner Rahm Emanuel from getting more than 50 percent of the vote and force a runoff election in April.
Emanuel visited a Chatham neighborhood Aldi on Friday to discuss his plans to bring more grocery stores to the city’s “food deserts” on the South and West sides.
Emanuel pledged to demand that grocery chains bring fresh fruit and vegetables to those areas.
Since the start of the race, Emanuel has made more than 300 stops at local retailers and more than 100 stops at Chicago “L” stops to meet voters face-to-face.
Chicago mayoral hopefuls are spending Presidents Day campaigning throughout the city ahead of Tuesday’s election, hoping to knock any fence-sitters into their camps.
Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun rallied supporters at a South Side ballroom. Former Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico campaigned in Beverly and Chinatown. Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel visited a North Side senior center and a South Side restaurant. And City Clerk Miguel del Valle greeted commuters on the North Side and met with reporters at his campaign headquarters.
By Tuesday night, voters will have decided whether Chicago has a new mayor to succeed the retiring Richard Daley or faces six more weeks of campaigning ahead of a one-on-one April 5 run off election. Voters also will pick a new city clerk, and all 50 City Council seats also are on the ballot.
Braun made her final major plea for votes at the Parkway Ballroom, where she will hold her election party Tuesday night. Braun stood before a poster bearing her own image and that of the late Mayor Harold Washington, with about 50 vocal supporters standing behind her.
Emanuel’s surprising support among African Americans is critical to his hopes to win outright on Tuesday. “We are getting out there and I think we’re going to win tomorrow,” Braun said. “That out of our diversity can come our strength…That we can build this city so that it works for every neighborhood and every family.”
Braun said that she is on the side of working people and hasn’t leveraged any office she has held for personal political gain. She called for a moratorium on any city contracts of more than $25,000 between Election Day and the May 16 swearing-in of a new mayor.
Braun was joined by Rev. Jesse Jackson and U. S. Rep. Danny Davis. Chico started a day of CTA and restaurant stops at a pancake house in Beverly, where he shook hands with diners. Chico said he would be a better leader than Emanuel.
“I think we’d better take a more respectful tone with the City Council,” Chico said.
In Chinatown, Chico went door to door at businesses and chatted with groups of teenagers having lunch on their day off from school.
Emanuel was greeted by chants of “Carol, Carol” as he walked in to Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles. Emanuel shook a few hands and sat down to eat without taking questions from reporters. Later, Emanuel stopped by Jackson’s table to greet him before leaving and said afterward he was not fazed by the Braun chants.
“They can say whatever they want, everybody can do whatever they want. It was nice and spirited, because, guess what? Chicago matters and it’s worth fighting for,” Emanuel said. “That’s been my attitude all along. It doesn’t matter what anybody says about me personally.”
The restaurant appearance followed a morning CTA stop. The Western Brown Line, in his old congressional district, was his 110th el stop. Emanuel said he’s also visited more than 300 grocery stores, fire stations, schools, and bowling alleys during the campaign. His two oldest children, Zach and Ilana, joined him on the trail.
Emanuel is leading in public opinion polls but has said in recent days that he is not predicting victory Tuesday. That would require a majority of the vote.
“The voters will decide, that’s immaterial to me,” Emanuel said of the potential of winning outright on Tuesday. “What’s material to me is that they know where the candidate stands and the determination to see it through.”
Del Valle appeared with state Rep. Cynthia Soto, D-Chicago, and campaign volunteers and continued his message that it’s important for voters to keep the campaign going to a runoff so the issues can be further discussed.
“People are telling me how much they like our message, that we talk about the neighborhoods,” del Valle said. “We were the first campaign to focus on the neighborhoods. We set the agenda for this race.”
But the important thing is the voters decide the races outcome! So come out and Vote Tuesday Feb. 22.