Tags: | rahm emanuel | chuy garcia | chicago | mayor | runoff

Emanuel, Garcia Await Chicago's Choice in Tense Mayoral Runoff

By    |   Tuesday, 07 Apr 2015 12:35 PM

After a final day of intense campaigning, the fates of incumbent Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia will be decided by Chicago voters in the city's first mayoral runoff election.

Heading into Tuesday's vote, Emanuel, who was unable to garner the 50 percent needed to win in February, holds a 51 percent to 33 percent lead over Garcia in an April 4 poll conducted by the Chicago firm Ogden & Fry.

The survey found 15 percent of voters remained undecided.

Election results could be affected by several factors, including the size of the Hispanic community's support for Garcia and whether African-Americans, who have rallied to Emanuel's side, will actually go to the polls, according to Ogden & Fry's electoral analysis.

While Emanuel has gained some major endorsements from African-American politicians, a series of investigative reports by The Guardian newspaper detailing a "secret" site in Chicago's predominantly African-American west side that was used by the city's police for "off-the-books" interrogations also has the potential to dampen that support.

Reports about the site, known as Homan Square, emerged on Feb. 24, the date of the first election, but Emanuel's refusal to approve an investigation into the site has the potential to throw a wrench into Tuesday's vote.

According to Spencer Ackerman of The Guardian, the alleged police practices at Homan Square included keeping individuals who had been arrested out of official booking databases, beatings — some that resulted in head wounds, denying attorneys access to the facility, and holding and shackling individuals for extended periods of time, some as long as 24 hours.

"He is cowering in the tradition of silence that he inherited," Jason Tompkins, an organizer with Black Lives Matter of Chicago, told The Guardian. "Why do you think the mayor has denied Homan Square and not allowed for an investigation?"

Whether it affects Tuesday's vote, the issue of police tactics and the issue of Homan Square will not be fading away any time soon as protests are planned for next week, and both Chicago City Commissioner Richard Boykin and U.S. Rep. Danny Davis have called on the Justice Department to launch an investigation.

Garcia is holding out hope that African-Americans and Hispanics will defy polling expectations and come out to support him.

"They're not sampling Latinos correctly, the African-American sampling is also not good, and they're way under-sampling young voters. I'm doing exceptionally well with all those sectors of the electorate.

"This is a very close race. Tomorrow it will be decided by a superior field force that we will have on the streets all over Chicagoland," Garcia said, according to CBS Chicago.

Garcia's campaign has organized a get-out-the-vote effort with more than 5,000 volunteers targeting 360,000 voters, the station reports.

A month ago the polls showed the candidates in tight race, but Emanuel was able to build a lead by attacking Garcia for lacking a coherent plan to fix the city's dismal finances and lacking management experience, points he hammered home in the last televised debate.

"Your attacks on me are a smokescreen for the fact that you don't have a plan to attack Chicago's problems," said Emanuel in response to Garcia's criticism, CNN reported.

A Chicago Tribune poll of March 25-29 found Emanuel with the support of 58 percent of the voters, compared with 30 percent for Garcia.

"I absolutely think that is hurting him," said Chicago Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson of Garcia's lack of specificity in laying out his financial plan.

Voters, when asked who would be better equipped to handle the city's finances, gave the first-term mayor a 59 percent to 18 percent margin advantage over Garcia, according to the Tribune poll.

It also remains to be seen whether the rush in early voting holds any meaning.

At the end of April 1, just under 101,000 Chicagoans had cast early ballots, which represented a huge increase over the 51,245 early votes before February's election, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

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After a final day of intense campaigning, the fates of incumbent Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia will be decided by Chicago voters in the city's first mayoral runoff election.
rahm emanuel, chuy garcia, chicago, mayor, runoff
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2015-35-07
Tuesday, 07 Apr 2015 12:35 PM
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