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Emanuel, Garcia In Dead Heat In Latest Polls

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 2, 2015 6:40PM

Chuy Garcia Did the Polar Plunge Sunday. (Image via Garcia's mayoral campaign.)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia are statistically tied in new polls conducted days after last week’s mayoral election.

The latest surveys from Ogden & Fry show Emanuel holding a slight edge over Garcia. Friday's poll of 979 likely voters found 42.9 percent supported Mayor Emanuel to 38.5 percent for Garcia and 18.6% were undecided. A poll conducted on 1,058 registered voters Wednesday showed Emanuel leading Garcia 42.7 percent to 38.7 percent. Friday's poll had a margin of error of 3.2 percent while Wednesday’s margin of error was 3.07 percent.

Both candidates have a way to go to sway undecided voters. Both polls indicated 18.6 percent of respondents were undecided on who they would vote for April 7.


Emanuel and Garcia have some hard work ahead of them in a short time frame. Early voting opens March 23 across the city so both men have to rack up endorsements and campaign funds quick. Chicago Forward, the pro-Emanuel Super PAC headed by longtime Emanuel ally Becky Carroll, gave Emanuel a boost by informing the Illinois Board of Elections Chicago Forward would donate $110,000 to the Emanuel campaign and forcing the Board of Elections to lift contribution limits in the runoff election. Those caps were put back in place after Willie Wilson and William Kelly failed to make it past the nonpartisan general election.

Carroll played coy when asked about the donations, saying she’s required by law to report all contributions greater than $100,000. But fair election proponents like Illinois Campaign for Political Reform Executive Director David Melton believe it was deliberately intended to lift the caps.

"I would imagine that these were some supporters of Mayor Emanuel who decided to make contributions to him [because it] would have the effect of lifting the caps immediately. I can only assume they didn’t directly coordinate this with the Mayor, because that would be illegal,” said Melton. “I’m assuming the Mayor is probably happy it happened."

One would think all the money Carroll sent to the campaigns of incumbent aldermen who wound up in runoffs would have her thinking twice about using soft money to influence the runoff, especially now that the mayoral election is a two-man race and Garcia can continue to benefit from the heavy contributions from public sector unions and their Political Action Committees.