Do we already know the identity of the finalists in the mayor’s race? Is the Election Of A Lifetime going to be a predictable dud, less dramatic than a season of Dancing With the Stars?
According to a new poll released by mayoral considerer Luis Gutierrez, former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart are towering over the competition. To compare this field to the Chicago skyline, they’re the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center. Everyone else here is the Wrigley Building.
Here are the results of the poll, conducted Oct. 5-7 by Lincoln Park Strategies, a Washington, D.C., polling firm:
Rahm Emanuel 27 percent
Tom Dart 19 percent
Carol Moseley Braun 9 percent
Luis Gutierrez 8 percent
Danny Davis 6 percent
James Meeks 5 percent
Miguel del Valle 3 percent
Bob Fioretti 2 percent
Gery Chico 2 percent
Since the campaign has barely begun, these numbers are obviously the result of name recognition. When Emanuel returned to Chicago, for his daylong listening tour of taquerias and bowling alleys, the local TV stations did everything but interrupt their NFL coverage to show his plane landing at O’Hare. Dart was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, and won a flattering profile in Chicago magazine after halting foreclosures in 2008. Moseley Braun is well remembered for her inept term as a United States Senator, which is probably why she’s only getting 9 percent.
Even so, Emanuel and Dart seem positioned to attract the most campaign funds, the most volunteers, and the most talented campaign strategists. That doesn’t mean there’s no point in staying in the race for the rest of the candidates. Since the election is certain to go to a runoff, minor candidates can extract political favors from Dart and Emanuel in exchange for endorsements. The five weeks of horse-trading before the final will probably be more interesting than the five months it takes to get there.