Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Down to the Wire in Chicago Mayoral Race with Rahm Emanuel Leading

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Down to the Wire in Chicago Mayoral Race with Rahm Emanuel Leading

Article excerpt

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 run-off 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.

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' messaging these recent weeks, however, many of their prayers are heavenward petitions for a run-off, 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 competition is 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 admitted Sunday that a run-off 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 advisor and fundraiser and for his immense campaign fund, totaling $8.3 million, making his the richest in the state.

His connections are wide and diverse, spanning the entertainment world in Los Angeles and the banking sector in New York City.

Many here also see him entrenched with Mayor Daley, despite the fact that the incumbent mayor has yet to give Emanuel an official endorsement. …

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