Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his challenger, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, both Democrats, are in a tight race heading into their April 7 runoff election, according to an Ogden & Fry public opinion survey, Business Insider
The Feb. 28 poll shows Emanuel with 42.9 percent support from likely voters against 38.5 percent for Garcia, with 18.6 percent undecided. The margin of error is about 3.2 percent.
"They're likely dead even," pollster Tom Swiss told the Chicago Sun Times.
Emanuel, running against four challengers, garnered 45 percent of the vote in the Feb. 24 mayoral election forcing him into a runoff with Cook County Commissioner Garcia, who pulled 34 percent, NPR
The incumbent spent $7 million on the campaign compared to $1.5 million by Garcia, according to the Jewish Daily Forward.
Emanuel has been opposed by the Working Families Party (WFP), which along with municipal unions backed the Mexican-born Garcia.
Working Families said the mayor was interested only in helping affluent Chicagoans. "All eyes are on Chicago. Rahm Emanuel is betting that he can raise enough campaign cash to hide his record of taking from working families to give to the rich," a party statement said.
Described by The New York Times
as "unabashedly left-leaning," the WFP is an offshoot of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN.
Party leader Dan Cantor told The Daily Beast
that the WFP is trying to pull the Democratic Party away from corporate interests.
ACORN backed Barack Obama's presidential candidacies. Emanuel, who is close to Obama, served as his first White House chief of staff. On a recent visit to Chicago, Obama had only good things to say about Emanuel, according to NPR.
To win, Emanuel will need the support of Chicago's African-American community, which comprises roughly one third of the electorate. He captured 42 percent of black support on Feb. 28, down from 59 percent in 2011.
Garcia is working to overcome long-standing political resentment in the black community against those of Hispanic heritage, the Forward reported.
"Chicago voters face a clear choice between Rahm, who has a clear record and plan to create good jobs, and Chuy Garcia, who has failed to get much of anything done in nearly 20 years on the big issues facing the city, but who is all of a sudden making pie-in-the-sky promises and writing checks Chicago can't cash," Emanuel's campaign manager, Steve Mayberry, told the Chicago Sun Times.
Garcia's campaign said the poll results showed that as "the city learns more about Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia's agenda for change, his support will continue to grow."
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