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Mayoral Candidates Make Final Push Before Tomorrow's Runoff Election

By aaroncynic in News on Apr 6, 2015 9:15PM

(Mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia at a rally at his Pilsen campaign office Monday./ Photo: aaroncynic/Chicagoist)

With less than 24 hours until the polls open, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia are both making the final push for votes before tomorrow’s runoff election. This morning Emanuel had breakfast at Ann Sather’s with what he called his “super volunteers” before phone banking at a nearby field office. Seemingly confident about recent polls that put him with a double digit lead over Garcia, Emanuel told ABC:

“I think people going to the polls are interested in Chicago's future. A future in which you can make - raise a minimum wage - so if you work you don't raise a child in poverty. A future in which you not only have universal kindergarten, but also now you're going to have pre-k for all four year olds from a family of need.”

Those polls however, are far from the final word according to Garcia, who told reporters and supporters at a packed press conference at a field office in Pilsen that “conventional thinkers have a big surprise in store.” Garcia’s field director, Abdelnasser Rashid, who worked on President Obama’s 2008 election campaign pointed to the campaign’s field operation as the reason he believed the Cook County Commissioner could unseat Emanuel. “We have the most robust field operation Chicago has seen in decades,” said Rashid. “Our operation is massive, it is organized and it is disciplined.”

According to Rashid, the campaign plans to send out some 5,000 volunteers to the streets tomorrow to get out the vote, with 100 organizers working from 40 different field offices. “Tomorrow, 360,000 Chicago voters should expect a door knock by a volunteer campaign,” said Rashid.

A poll by Ogden and Fry released Saturday by Aldertrack showed Emanuel maintaining a comfortable lead of 51.3 percent to Garcia’s 33 percent, with more than 15 percent undecided. Without undecided votes, Emanuel was still in the lead with 56.6 percent of the vote. Already, 142,344 early votes have been cast and 55,626 absentee ballots were requested. Aldertrack predicts nearly 600,000 voters to turn out to the polls, or about 42 percent.

Only 34 percent of voters cast ballots in the Feb. 24 election. Dick Simpson, a former 44th Ward Alderman and political science professor at UIC told USA Today the surge in turnout could make a huge difference. “The real issue is who is going to show up to vote, who the motivated voters are,” said Simpson. “I think this race is closer than the polls show it to be."

A hoarse but energetic Garcia, who was joined by the Reverend Jesse Jackson and leaders of several community groups, told his supporters he was confident about tomorrow’s results. “We weren’t supposed to be here,” said Garcia. “We were counted out by the pundits, by the polls…by the political machine, the papers and the big money people who thought they could buy this election. Then a funny thing happened, on Feb. 24 people went to the polls in Chicago and we had a runoff. The people are going to have their say tomorrow.”